Helping Little Hearts

Ross, Colleen, Joshua and Oliver

Birmingham parents want to give back and help more little hearts

Parents, Ross and Colleen Bull, are taking on the SUBWAY Helping Hearts™ Family 5K Birmingham to raise money for national charity, Heart Research UK, after their son, Joshua was born with congenital heart disease.

Ross and Colleen, both 27, will join hundreds of runners at Highbury Park on Sunday 26th July for an inspirational fun run. Taking part in this event is their way of recognising the support Joshua, aged 2, received. He spent the first year of his life in Birmingham Children’s Hospital, so raising money towards this is very important to the Bull family.

Joshua was born with pulmonary atresia with a ventricular septal defect. This means that the valve which allows blood to flow from the heart to the lungs – the pulmonary valve – is not formed properly, blocking the flow of blood to the lungs where it picks up oxygen. Babies born with this condition also have a hole between the two main pumping chambers of the heart.

In Joshua’s case, the pulmonary artery – the blood vessel which carries blood to the lungs – did not form at all and blood flowed to the lungs through a number of naturally-occurring connecting blood vessels called collateral arteries. Congenital heart disease (CHD), which is one of the most common types of birth defect, affects one in 150 babies born in the UK.

Commenting on the event, Colleen said:

When I saw the advertisement I said to my husband, ‘we have got to take part and help raise money and awareness.’ Before having Joshua I didn’t know anything about CHD. We want to give back to a charity that helps fund research into saving babies like ours.

Ross and Colleen will be joined on the Family 5K route by Joshua and their eight month old son Oliver, and will be cheered around the course by both sets of grandparents.

The charity is funding research into a new children’s monitoring system, which may save the lives of babies returning home after complex heart surgery from Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

Infants like Joshua who have complex heart surgery in their first months of life may benefit from the new system, which shows parents how to spot early-warning signs of deterioration in their child’s condition and provide them with monitoring devices which allow them to measure their child’s oxygen levels and weight. The system may act as an extra safety net that could improve care and save lives as it may pick up problems earlier, so they can be treated sooner.

This is a first year event in Highbury Park in Birmingham and is the sixth of 12 events in the SUBWAY Helping Hearts™ Family 5K series taking place across the UK from May to September. In what is an exciting new twist for this year, the 5K event will see families challenged to take on the ‘field of fresh’ for the final 500m!

Inspired by the SUBWAY® menu the giant inflatable course has been designed to appeal to kids (and big kids) as they make their way to the finish line. For the less adventurous there’s still the choice of the traditional route because ultimately however you make it, every 5K counts!

Open to all ages and abilities, the events will once again be helping to raise money for national heart charity Heart Research UK. Every penny of sponsorship money raised goes directly back into the local community to help fund the Heart Research UK and SUBWAY® Healthy Heart grant scheme; an initiative that provides funding of up to £10,000, to new and innovative projects that actively promote Heart Health.

To prove it’s the perfect day out for the whole family to enjoy, not only will there be lots of free, fun activities on the day, but everyone who takes part will also receive:

  • A FREE T-Shirt
  • A FREE SUBWAY® lunch
  • A FREE Goody Bag

Children under 12 go FREE and it’s then just £6.99 per person for the rest of the family when they register online. Go to 5ksubway.com for race information and to register.

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