Wrexham Woman Thanks Alder Hey With Great North Run!
A Wrexham resident who had lifesaving heart surgery 50 years ago is preparing to take part in the world’s biggest half marathon. Wendy Evans (56) will be putting on her running shoes for this year’s Great North Run, as she aims to raise vital funds for the hospital that saved her life five decades ago.
Born with a hole in her heart, Wendy underwent surgery at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital back in 1963 when she was just six years old. The operation, which corrected a valve obstruction in her heart saved her life, allowing Wendy to become the successful mother, grandmother, business woman and fundraiser that she is today.
Wendy explains: “I travelled from Wrexham to Liverpool by train in late November 1963 with my heavily pregnant mother and my father. As it was Christmas time, I remember asking for a skipping rope from Father Christmas, a request which worried my already concerned parents! It was music to my ears when my Cardiologist Mr Hay suggested “If she wants to skip, let her skip!”
“After a two week stay at Alder Hey, I was able to return home for Christmas (and that much sought after skipping rope!). I had to have regular check-ups until I was 10 years old and until recently, lived with a heart murmur. When the heart murmur suddenly disappeared two years ago, it prompted doctors to assert that I had ‘run it off!’ – proof if it was ever needed that running is good for you!”
Every year, over 50,000 participants run 13 ½ miles between Newcastle and South Shields in the Great North Run. Having taken up running in 2001 at the tender age of 44, this will be the 12th time Wendy has taken part in the event. This year, Wendy has chosen Alder Hey Children’s Hospital as her chosen charity as a thank you for saving her life.
As Wendy marks the 50th Anniversary of her life saving operation, Alder Hey is also about to commemorate a special anniversary. In 2014, the famous children’s hospital will be celebrating a century of outstanding medical care to children across the UK whilst looking forward to the building of the new Alder Hey in the Park, a new world class facility providing leading edge care for children and young people.
Cath Harding, Head of Community Fundraising at Alder Hey Children’s Charity, said: “We have seen many changes in our Cardiac Unit which saved Wendy’s life 50 years ago. Alder Hey is now a centre of excellence for children’s heart surgery, treating between 450 – 500 children every year with various complex heart conditions.
“We are incredibly grateful to Wendy for choosing Alder Hey as her chosen charity this year. The money raised by Wendy and her running friends at this year’s Great North Run will help Alder Hey Children’s Charity to make a real difference to the lives of the 270,000 young patients treated at our hospital each year. We wish her all the best in this year’s run!”