I’ve got the green light for life, thanks to Heartbeat

Jimmy Fisher at Deepdale with fellow volunteers  Maurice Cheney, Gerry Hudson and Dave Prescott
Jimmy Fisher at Deepdale with fellow volunteers Maurice Cheney, Gerry Hudson and Dave Prescott
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Three years after a heart attack, Jimmy Fisher has lost six stone, dramatically improved his health and volunteers for the charity that helped him, Heartbeat. He told Laura Wild his story as part of our bid to help the charity raise £37,000.

When Jimmy Fisher started suffering an unbearable pain in the right of his face in summer 2011 he didn’t know what was happening.

Jimmy Fisher from Ribbleton has been helped by Heartbeat and now volunteers for the charity

Jimmy Fisher from Ribbleton has been helped by Heartbeat and now volunteers for the charity

The 56-year-old, who lives in Ribbleton, Preston, was diagnosed as bipolar many years before and often had anxiety attacks.

He wondered if the pain in his face was connected but having never felt pain like it, he rushed to A&E.

As he stood in the emergency department he was told it was likely he was having a heart attack there and then.

Now, three years on, Jimmy says his life has been improved by Preston-based Heartbeat in so many ways.

He had tipped the scales at more than 22 stone but now weighs in at 16. He volunteers for the charity and helps with fundraising.

His health has massively improved and after, years of being a diabetic, he is now ‘borderline’.

Today Jimmy is sharing his story to let people know exactly what the heart charity does.

The organisation has launched a fundraising drive to raise £37,000 to help realise its move from its current base in Fulwood to the former National Football Museum.

Jimmy says: “I was diagnosed with bipolar many years ago. I have always had severe bouts of depression mixed with periods of high elation.

“With depression comes anxiety. In March 2011 I took voluntary redundancy from British Aerospace because I knew I wasn’t getting better.

“Then in June 2011 I was near Blackpool when I started getting these horrible feelings of anxiety. I had these feelings of dread, that something bad was going to happen.

“The pains that were going through my body were different. The pain in the side of my face, my jaw and my neck was horrendous. I just knew something was different.

“For some reason something in me said ‘I think I need to get to A&E’.

“I was near Blackpool and rather than phone and ambulance I decided to drive to A&E at Blackpool Victoria.

“When I walked into A&E the lad on the desk took one look at me and called the nurse over. They said I was more than likely having a heart attack there and then.

“I ended up spending 11 days in Blackpool Victoria. After about six days they did an angiogram up through my groin, they found the artery in the right hand side of my heart was completely blocked.

“The doctor tried to get a stent into to unblock it but couldn’t. He said it was like concrete. They just couldn’t unblock it.

“Then they said my heart had bypassed itself.

“The doctor described it as the motorbike being blocked and the heart finding where to get the blood using the A and B roads to get to the right part. So there was no need for a bypass.

“They think there had been a problem with the artery over some time. Sometimes I had what I thought were severe panic attacks – but it might have been warning chest pains.

“When I got all the pain in my jaw I felt like ripping my jaw out – the pain doesn’t have to be in the chest.”

After the heart attack Jimmy did a bleep test at Royal Preston Hospital and was referred to Heartbeat.

He continues: “I went to Heartbeat, they put me on the traffic light programme, you build up over an eight-week period. Then I started going to the gym twice a week for exercise. They helped me with my diet and encouraged me to lose weight.

“They encouraged me with the weight loss. I think all together I have five-and- -a-half, six stone. I am down to about 16 stone.

“I started going to Heartbeat in October 2011 and I have been going ever since.

“With not working I was looking for something to do and they got me involved with volunteering. It helps me, it gets me out of the house. I love it is brilliant.

“They also have a listening service too. One of the things they found out over the years, people who have heart attacks, one of their big fears is ‘will it happen again?’. I told them I had this fear that something was going to happen again. It is a massive hurdle.”

Jimmy admits that his bipolar condition means he still ‘has his moments’ but his health and lifestyle have both improved in a number of ways thanks to the charity.

He concludes: “Everybody is over the moon with me – I am over the moon with heartbeat, they have got me to this stage, with help from other people.

“Heartbeat itself, if they hadn’t put in all the effort and encouragement, I don’t think I would have lost the weight. I would have stagnated. I have done bits of DIY for them. I don’t mind going down.

“The new location will be a bigger profile for them. It’s a more central location for people.”

How you can help

Call Heartbeat on 01772 717147 to donate by debit or credit card

Visit the Heartbeat offices at Pond House, Harris Park 253 Garstang Road

Send a cheque to HeartbeatNW Cardiac Centre, FREEPOST NWW6598, Preston, PR2 9YZ)

Visit {http:// www.heartbeat-nwcc.org.uk|www.heartbeat-nwcc.org.uk}

Text a donation, text, MAKE37 £5 to 70070

Visit just giving – www.justgiving.com/HeartbeatAppeal