Heart attack victim to run marathon
Published: 11 January, 2011
SHELDON: A Selco employee who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise cash for The British Heart Foundation is gearing up for another gruelling charity challenge.
Simon Ball, aged 43, of Sheldon, suffered a heart attack nine years ago and since then has undertaken fundraisers for various charities.
Now the father-of-one is in training to run the Edinburgh Marathon in May to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.
Mr Ball, a human resources advisor at Selco Builders Merchants, had a heart attack aged just 34 as a result of an undiagnosed congenital heart defect.
He said: “I got up one morning with what I thought was indigestion and went to work. I didn’t get any better and had to go home. My wife drove me to the hospital and the next thing I knew I was in a theatre with wires sticking out of me.
“In hindsight I was very, very lucky. You don’t ever think you’re going to have a heart attack at 34. Afterwards I had to go to rehab and I was the youngest there by about 20 years.”
“I smoked 40 a day and didn’t have a very healthy lifestyle – I had to change. I took up walking and did the Three Peaks Challenge and then I did Kilimanjaro to raise money for the British Heart Foundation.
“It was an amazing experience. The final ascent took eight hours of trekking through the night before reaching the summit at daybreak. It was an incredibly emotional moment when my group reached the top.”
His efforts raised £4,500, much of which was generated with the help of his colleagues at Selco’s headquarters in Kings Norton, Birmingham, and throughout the national branches.
He added: “My colleagues at Selco were really supportive of my efforts. I couldn’t have done it without them, and the company have now arranged a weekly dress down Friday in support of staff nominated charities.
“The training is going well and, despite the hard work, I’m really looking forward to the Edinburgh Marathon. I’m a bit of a glutton for punishment!”