My brother, Ercan, was fighting fit, a fireman who looks after himself, eating sensibly and working out regularly in the gym.

Towards the end of last year, he felt ‘something pop’ in his chest. He didn’t think much of it but, over the next few months, the aortic dissection that had gone almost unnoticed caused him to become progressively more and more breathless. When the extent of the problem finally came to light, he required two major operations, each lasting an entire day. His recovery has been long and complex but he is now recovering and hopes to be back to work as a fireman before too long. Ercan’s surgery was performed by the specialist aortic surgeons at the Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals. There is a crying need for more research into diseases of the aorta. The Aortic Centre Trust raises money to help hospitals all over the country acquire the specialist equipment and expertise necessary to carry out this sort of surgery as well as to promote research into aortic diseases which, as we have learned, can occur at any age even in someone as fit as my brother. Ercan was very fortunate. Many people his situation don't make it to hospital…

In September, I plan to complete the Yorkshire Thee Peaks Challenge, a tough walk over three peaks in Yorkshire covering 24 miles with more than 5000 feet of climbing. The goal is to complete the walk in under twelve hours. I am looking for sponsors for this significant challenge and all proceeds will go the Aortic Centre Trust to help people like my brother, Ercan.

Hulya Mehmet