In late 2020, I lost my beloved husband Aqeel to a sudden aortic dissection. He was just 33 years old.
Until then, I hadn’t been very sporty or active. I would run for the bus or train only where absolutely necessary (!) and would rarely go out of my way to exercise. When the first COVID-19 lockdown hit, both Aqeel and I suddenly felt at a loss, our usual work commutes no longer providing the movement we needed to keep ourselves going.
That’s when we decided to do the NHS’s “Couch to 5k” program together, a podcast that gets you from zero running to running 30 minutes non-stop within 9 weeks. I completed the program and took up running – as a keen golfer, Aqeel got part way through and joined a new golf club once they re-opened instead! But I continued to run regularly in the months that followed, Aqeel always encouraging me to push myself and run that little bit longer.
That fateful day in late 2020 was the final time I ran for a long time. After Aqeel passed away so suddenly, I wanted to learn more about his dissection – what it was, how it could happen and more importantly, what was being done to educate people of this condition and its risks. That’s when I found the Aortic Centre Trust and reached out to members of its team to make a donation in Aqeel’s memory. The work they do is fantastic and as I’ve learnt the hardest of ways, extremely critical. Awareness and knowledge of aortic dissections or aneurysms, their signs and symptoms, including the possibility for a genetic disposition to cause such conditions, is vital and I am so glad to be able to support such a wonderful organisation.
About 18 months after Aqeel’s death, I took up running again. This time I had a bigger picture in mind – a few months later would mark 10 years since I met Aqeel, so I decided to train for and complete a 10 k run in Aqeel’s honour, raising money for the Aortic Centre Trust. The team was extremely encouraging and with thanks to so many supporters as well as a very kindly donated t-shirt to complete my running look, I was able to complete my run and raise a total of £2,215!
I am delighted to have been able to raise this amount for the Aortic Centre Trust and to hopefully help progress their wonderful work.