Fish and chip chain owner Asif Ali was so grateful to Heartbeat for its help following his heart attack, that he has became the charity’s supporter of the year.
As Heartbeat place their donation boxes in local stores, shops and businesses, the charity ran a friendly competition for their supporting stores.
Keen to show his gratitude for the organisation, the 41-year-old put out donation boxes at two of his King Kod shops, in Blackpool Road, and Plungington Road, Preston, and collectively they raised more than £540.
The Blackpool Road chippy raised £340.83, and won Heartbeat’s Donation Box Supporter of the Year, whilst the Plungington Road shop raised £209.37 and came third place.
Asif will now match his customers’ donations and donate a further £540.
He says: “To raise £540 over our shops is a fantastic amount to be raised. We thank and appreciate all our customers for their amazing support.
“I will personally match the Heartbeat donation boxes total, which is an extra £540 for Heartbeat.”
Asif has been a member of Heartbeat for many years and although no longer attends classes is dedicated in his support for the charity.
He adds: “Most of the time, I ate a healthy and balanced diet and I also exercised and walked to work and back every day. I am not overweight and do not have high cholesterol, so I don’t really know what caused my heart attack and even my GP was surprised when he heard it was a heart attack. I am living proof that a heart attack can happen to anyone whatever their age.
“There was no pre-warning of my heart attack and no build-up or early symptoms and I had not had any health issues before it happened.
“It happened the day after my 33rd birthday when I was doing a bit of gardening.
“I wasn’t even doing anything strenuous – I was just putting a plant in.
“At first, I just thought it was heartburn. I felt a slight burning sensation in my chest and then it became more painful and I started getting out of breath.”
The paramedics arrived and after carrying out an ECG, they took Asif to the Royal Preston Hospital where he was told he had suffered a heart attack.
He was transferred to Blackpool Victoria where they discovered an artery leading to his heart was blocked, so Asif underwent a procedure to clear the blockage.
After his heart treatment, he was told about Heartbeat which helps people rehabilitate after heart problems.
The father-of-two says: “I did not expect to have a heart attack and it was totally out of the blue and after it happened, I felt too scared to exercise in case it happened again.
“Heartbeat is fantastic as you can exercise under supervision and there is always someone there watching you and keeping an eye on your heart rate. Heartbeat has given me my confidence back.”
Lynn Preston, fund-raising co-ordinator at Heartbeat, says: “I want to thank Asif, his team and the generous King Kod customers.
“Asif’s story illustrates that heart illness can happen to anyone. Thank you to everyone who has kindly donated money in one of the red donation boxes at the King Kod Fish and Chip shops, your donations are so very appreciated.”