This September is ‘Women and Heart Disease Awareness Month’ at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), a cause I feel extremely passionate about.
On 20th September I was officially announced as a BHF Ambassador, marking the occasion by spending the morning at The William Harvey Heart Centre, Queen Mary University of London, where the BHF funds life saving heart research.
I spoke with BHF researchers at the university about research they are doing into pre-eclampsia, the leading cause of death worldwide for women during pregnancy and heart transplant rejection. This research is of particular interest me to as my mother was previously diagnosed with pre-eclampsia.
It is estimated that globally around 76,000 pregnant women die each year from pre-eclampsia and related hypertensive disorders. Whilst at Queen Mary’s I also met various women who are fighting a daily battle with heart disease. These women included Bina Ghelani and her baby Aarya. Bina was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia when she was 32 weeks pregnant with Aarya. Thankfully they both made a full recovery but this is something no family should have to face.
It’s a very sad reality that coronary heart disease remains the UK’s single biggest killer. It kills twice as many women as breast cancer. In the South East there are 940,000 people alone living a daily battle with cardiovascular disease. 21,600 lives are lost every year in the South East because of these devastating conditions.
But there is hope. The BHF currently funds 151 research projects at Institutions across South East to help fight this heartless disease.
It’d like to encourage all South East readers to help fund the BHF’s life saving research this September by donating any unwanted items to your local BHF shop. I have already donated a bag of my unwanted items to the BHF’s Bag It Beat It (BIBI) campaign, their annual stock donation campaign this September so you all must! The BHF has a 1 million bag target throughout the month. Your donations really are a life savers.
For more information on the BHF and their Bag It Beat It campaign visit www.bhf.org.uk/bagit. To book a free collection call, 0808 250 0024.
The Duchess of York
Ambassador for the British Heart Foundation