Morpeth man's heart attack inspires incredible £100,000 fundraising effort by Tyneside businesses
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The Heart of the Tyne Business Board is now inspiring similar groups across the country thanks to its fundraising efforts over the last six years.
The group was launched in 2017 by David Brind, 50, chief finance officer for Newcastle-based Kitwave plc, when he was looking for ways to recover following a heart attack.
David said that although Heart of the Tyne started after his own collapse, his connection to the cause actually went back further when his wife’s uncle had a cardiac arrest and he tried to save him using CPR.
“After that I helped set up a local fund in the North East through our Rotaract group to buy five defibrillators for the local community which we did with the British Heart Foundation – so my link with BHF has always been there,” he said.
A few years later, this connection became even more personal.
“In 2017 I was on my way to a meeting at work and started feeling a bit unwell,” said David.
“I had been at Centre Parcs over the weekend and assumed I had caught something from the kids, but when I started to feel worse I decided to drive home”.
As he drove back to Morpeth, where David lives with wife Claire and children Holly and Alex, he passed a new A&E centre and on the spur of the moment decided to go in and get checked.
That split second decision may well have saved his life.
“I walked into reception and just collapsed then and there,” he said. “That was about 10.15am and the next thing I remember is waking up in a different hospital at about 4.30pm that afternoon.
“Apparently they had worked on me for about 20 minutes and my wife had had that terrible phone call telling her to come straight away as they didn’t know if I was going to make it.”
Luckily David did survive and after having stents inserted hasn’t had any physical problems since.
But he said the “mental challenge” for a few months after his heart attack was a lot harder to deal with.
“For quite a while afterwards I woke up thinking ‘what if...?’ But you have to stop yourself going down that rabbit hole and focus on the fact that the worse didn’t happen, that your children are still growing up with a dad.”
Following his heart attack, David started cardiac rehab and when his friend Stuart Jackson asked if he wanted to come out for a walk with him, he agreed. That was the start of the Heart of the Tyne initiative.
The pair first completed a BHF-organised walk along Hadrian’s Wall and then realised they wanted to keep on fundraising but also use their business connections to spread awareness about heart disease.
Money has been raised in various ways including grand galas. The last of these, in September, pushed them over the line and helped them hit their incredible milestone of raising £100,000 for the British Heart Foundation.