Stoke Newington mum Alicia Wilkins to run Royal Parks Half Marathon to fund British Heart Foundation research
PUBLISHED: 10:59 11 October 2019 | UPDATED: 11:00 11 October 2019
A Stoke Newington mother whose partner and son have heart disease is taking on the Royal Parks Half Marathon on Sunday to raise money for the British Heart Foundation's life-saving research into the condition.
Alicia Wilkins decided to take on the 13.1 mile challenge after her partner, Sam, 41, underwent open heart surgery in March.
He developed symptoms including tiredness and pain in his chest earlier, and even walking up a flight of stairs became a challenge for him. Alicia, 34, said: "I saw the change in him; he was sleeping for long periods. Walking short distances at a normal pace and then feeling as if he had sprinted for the bus."
Sam was diagnosed with aortic stenosis aged nine, which is a common condition caused by a narrowing of the aortic valve, restricting blood flow out of the heart.
But when his symptoms escalated, he was told he might only live another two years if surgeons didn't operate to replace his aortic valve with an artificial metal one. He has since made a full recovery.
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Alicia said: "You can't receive treatment without research. Without it, life saving monitoring, assessments and operations cannot happen." The couple's baby son Logan, is also affected by heart disease. His aortic valve did not develop normally while he was in the womb, and he has been diagnosed with bicuspid aortic valve, which means his valve has two cusps instead of three.
Alicia said: "Other than experiencing cold hands and feet due to poorer blood circulation, he's healthy, full of life and absolutely beautiful. But Logan is an example of how research is important, even at the earliest of stages to detect and treat any potential heart conditions that can affect him later in life.
"I'm running to fund research to keep my loved ones alive, and to raise awareness."
To sponsor Alicia, see justgiving.com/fundraising/alicia-wilkins1.