Entries by Somerville Admin

How to begin an exercise programme

How to Begin an Exercise Programme By Beth Greenaway In the New Year, and with the excesses of Christmas just a memory, many turn their attention to weight loss and fitness goals. New exercisers fill gyms for the first weeks of January, but for many their resolutions are quickly broken. So how do you start […]


Getting older with CHD. Part One

This is the first of two articles Written by Dr Leisa Freeman, Consultant GUCH Cardiologist, and Toni Hardiman, Specialist GUCH Nurse GUCH Clinic Norfolk & Norwich University NHS Hospital.  These articles originally appeared in issue 68 (spring 2012) and issue 69 (summer 2012) issues of GUCH News The remarkable advances of treatments for congenital heart conditions mean […]

Liverpool Nightrider 2019

NIGHTRIDER™ LIVERPOOL 2019 Date: 13 / 14 July 2019 Distance: 50km or 100km. REGISTER NOW Nightrider Liverpool is back for the 4th consecutive year in Liverpool and you can be a part of this special cycle challenge! Taking place throughout the night, Nightrider is a charity ride which is all about having fun, seeing the […]

Bristol Nightrider 2019

NIGHTRIDER™ BRISTOL 2019 Date: 6 / 7 July 2019 Distance: 50km or 100km REGISTER NOW REDUCED FUNDRAISING TARGET Nightrider is returning to Bristol and you can be a part of this special cycle challenge! Taking place throughout the night, Nightrider is a charity ride which is all about having fun, seeing the sights and taking […]

A long tradition of high quality care and research

Introduction The Royal Brompton Hospital (RBH) has a long tradition of innovation and leadership in congenital heart disease. While children’s lives have been transformed by early intervention, many have ongoing needs into adulthood, including further surgery, catheter intervention and/or other procedures. There is both an adult congenital heart disease (ACHD) unit at the RBH and […]

World Cup rehabilitation

My twin sister and I were born on 4th September 1981, I was born with Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) and had open heart surgery at the age of three to repair a hole in my heart.  I am afraid I don’t remember too much about this particular operation but my Mum tells me it was […]

Your Heart and You – Book review

Your Heart and You – by Elizabeth Wilde McCormick, Leisa Freeman Published by Piatkus Books ISBN: 0749922036 Priced at £6.99 Buy Your Heart And You: A holistic guide to a healthier heart  Looking after your heart is important whether you were born with a heart condition or not. A new book, written by Elizabeth Wilde […]

King of Hearts – Book review

King of Hearts : The True Story of the Maverick who Pioneered Open Heart Surgery – by G Wayne Miller Published by Random House ISBN: 0812930037 Priced at £10.42 Buy King of Hearts  “1 in every 100 children are born with a Congenital Heart Defect. Thanks to advances in cardiac surgery over the past 20 […]

Big Hearted Man – Book review

Big Hearted Man – Kate Boydell Published by Troubador ISBN: 1899293345 Priced at £7.69 Buy Big-hearted Man  How many of us have thought that we should write a book about what has happened to us as congenital heart patients? And how many of us have ended up being too busy living life, or recovering from […]

Lucky Man – Book review

Lucky Man – Michael J Fox Ebury Press ISBN: 0091885671 Priced at £6.39 Buy Lucky Man: A Memoir  Although Michael J Fox doesn’t suffer from a heart complaint his Parkinson’s disease poses many of the same problems as I encounter as a GUCH, e.g. learning to accept your condition and treating it as a ‘gift’ […]

Will I still Be Me? – Book review

Will I still be me? – Diana Sanders Day Books ISBN: 0953221285 Priced at: £8.99 Buy Will I Still be Me?: A Journey Through a Transplant  On Tuesday, 11th July I was honoured to be invited to the launch of a new book “Will I Still Be Me? A journey through a transplant”, written by […]


Born with a Heart condition

What is a congenital heart condition? Congenital means ‘from birth’. A congenital heart condition is an abnormality of the heart that has been present from birth. A congenital heart condition is sometimes also called ‘congenital heart disease’ or ‘congenital heart defect’. How common are these conditions? At least 1 out of every 125 babies born […]


Royal Parks half marathon

Royal Parks Half Marathon 2018 Sunday 14 October 2018 Starts at Hyde Park, London The Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon is one of the UK’s most exciting, giving you the opportunity to run through the amazing Royal Parks of London and also take in some of London’s most iconic landmarks! Join thousands of runners on […]


Scarred FOR Life

Scarred FOR Life is a special photo exhibition sharing the problems and heartache that accompany living with a heart condition, both mental and physical. The first Scarred FOR Life exhibition was held in Scotland at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, one of Europe’s top collectors and exhibitors of art, sharing the lives of nine patients with […]

Inspiring others

My name is Ashley. I Love taking part in social events with the Somerville Foundation and especially enjoyed the Bloomsbury Bowling Day and the Michael Jackson thriller Day. I met lots of new people and had a great time. I have also attended workshops that encourage people with a learning disability to vote and have […]

Overcoming the odds – My Olympic Dream

Kelly Staddon is a truly remarkable young lady. Born in 1995, she was diagnosed with Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA), a congenital heart condition which means that the pulmonary artery and the aorta are the wrong way round. This in turn takes deoxygenated blood around the body instead of to the lungs and oxygenated […]


My Open Heart

I started to walk faster, legs shaking, and sheer panic overtook my entire body. As fast as my shaking legs could take me, I stumbled down the escalator of Oxford Circus station, attempting to get home. I carried the ‘panic attack’ label the doctor had kindly prescribed me the week before. The tube approached; it […]

My Transition Story

For everyone, growing up is incredibly difficult. From the moment you turn 18, you are catapulted into adult life. This often starts with little changes such as paying tax and national insurance, being able to buy alcohol and being able to vote. But soon the big things such as bills start creeping in and you […]

Irreplaceable Differences

I’m Donna. I’m 49, married, with 2 children; nothing out of the ordinary there – but everyone has a story to tell and this is mine… When I was born in 1967 ante-natal scans were uncommon, so when I was turning blue when feeding at 3 months old, and the Cardiologists at Birmingham Children’s Hospital […]

A Part of Me

At 1:05 am on the 3rd October 2016, it all suddenly hit me.  “Not again”, I thought, as my heart thudded erratically in my chest, “Why me?”, “What are the chances?” – all the clichés ran through my head. It was 4 days after my electrophysiology study that had determined the palpitations I’d been experiencing […]

Why I think happiness is a choice

Do you choose happiness? In recent months, I have been amazed by how many people have commented on and expressed how inspired they have been by my optimism and positivity when facing my medical challenges. My usual retort is that I just don’t think that being any other way would be helpful to my long-term […]

The Power of Breath

Inspiration is all around us. If I look around me there are plenty of people I admire like the young girl who does the paper round every morning to help her mother, Pradyumna Kumar, a gentleman who was so defiant to be self-sufficient and cycled his way to Sweden for love and this summer, I […]

50th Anniversary of the first Heart Transplant

Image Courtesy of health24 Fifty years ago, the first human heart transplant was performed in South Africa. Louis Washkansky, 53, was terminally ill with heart failure. The donor, Denise Darvall, was just 25. She suffered a fatal brain injury after a car accident in which her mother also died. Her father, Edward, who knew his […]

Lucy’s experience of Surgery

My reaction from the moment I discovered the date of my operation was to cry, panic and worry – right up until the day arrived! I knew I had to get through surgery to survive and look forward to my future. This was a chance of a new beginning. A fresh start, a new life […]

My battle with Cancer and TOF

25th May 2016 – I was sat in outpatients waiting to see my specialist cardiologist Dr D. Wilson, even though this was a routine appointment, I felt awful. I’d been to my GP numerous times struggling with my monthlies. I’d been told I was run down. I thought I was peri-menopausal, they said at 42 […]


In Memory of John Beech

In Memory of John Beech John was born on the 22nd January 1953. He was diagnosed with Transposition of the Great Vessels with Pulmonary Stenosis, Fallots Tetrology and holes in his heart. As a child the prognosis for John’s life expectancy was poor and it was doubtful he would ever reach his teenage years. He […]

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Michelle’s Great North Run

Michelle has been working hard to raise funds for The Somerville Foundation all the way through 2017. Altogether, Michelle raised over £1,300, which will allow us to continue to provide invaluable support to congenital heart patients, their families, friends and carers. The last time I competed in Great North Run was in 2012, although I […]