Behind the scenes at the British Heart Foundation is an eye-opener

Sep 2, 2019 Off Comments in British Heart Foundation, General News, Uncategorized by

As a company that has chosen the British Heart Foundation (BHF) as its charity partner, we have been amazed at just how keen it has been to forge a strong relationship with us – primarily through understanding.

What we mean by that is its willingness to come to us, talk to us and educate us about what it does, how it uses the money raised by companies and individuals, and its mission to beat heartbreak from heart and circulatory diseases and their risk factors.

So imagine how privileged we felt when our Trading Manager Mark Parkes was invited to Glenfield hospital in Leicester to see behind the scenes of what the BHF does and the real-life research projects it is currently undertaking.

Mark joined around 20 people for the morning session, where the focus was a tour of the facilities, meeting researchers, seeing some of the laboratories where research is being carried out and seeing what kinds of work is being done.

He said: “It was a real eye-opener to see the sheer breadth of what the BHF is doing and to meet some very intelligent and committed doctors and researchers who are continually pushing back the boundaries of knowledge of heart and circulatory diseases in order to improve heart health for all of us.

“We got a fascinating insight into our DNA and how research continues to unlock the secrets contained within it and also markers in blood testing to identify earlier warning signs of heart and circulatory diseases.

“Some of the cutting-edge research is around developing tests to pick up heart attacks before they happen – which on the face of it is what you’d expect of the BHF – but the level of diagnostics is absolutely phenomenal.

“But what fascinated us most was seeing MRI scans of hearts that had suffered heart attacks, and the differences between those and healthy hearts are staggering. The amount of scar tissue is frightening, and the effects of clogging are the stuff of nightmares.”

What hit home most to Mark were the strides that the BHF has taken in gathering more evidence of the connections between risk factors such as obesity and the health and function of a heart. This is especially close to home for Mark, who, before joining SR Timber, spent 14 years in the Parachute Regiment, where he was an Acting Staff Sergeant responsible for training and testing soldiers on one of the most arduous courses that the British Army has.

“The Parachute Regiment is known around the world for the exceptional levels of fitness that it demands from its soldiers. As an Acting Staff Sergeant, it was my job to ensure that soldiers of all ranks were in peak physical condition,” he said.

“We all know about the connection between heart issues and obesity or sedentary lifestyles, but, as each day passes, the BHF is amassing more information not just to confirm the theory but to prove it.

“The heart is a muscle that needs to be exercised on a regular basis – it’s that simple. Anything you can do to get your heart pumping on a regular basis, such as walking, jogging or running, is vitally important.

“This needs to go hand in hand with a balanced diet – yes, we can still all have what we like, but maybe a little less of the naughty stuff and a bit more of the natural stuff, such as fruit and vegetables.

“Like I said, we all know this stuff, but now the BHF has mountains of research to prove it.”

Reflecting on his day, what struck Mark the most was the scale of the breakthroughs that the BHF has achieved in the last five years alone, and he left with a sense of wanting to do even more to support the charity’s work.

Mark said: “We have a number of activities planned in the next few months – such as climbing mountains and running a marathon – and my time at the BHF concentrated my focus even more for the team at SR Timber to raise as much money as possible for such an important cause.”

Keep checking our charity page to keep up to date on our fundraising, or follow us on Twitter @SR_Timber_ for news as it happens. And if you want to support us, please visit our Just Giving page Link.