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Charity Director's Half Marathon to give us all a fighting chance

  Ben, pictured 3rd from left

Sharon Owen, Charity Director of Welsh Hearts, will walk the course of the Cardiff Half Marathon for the second time in memory of Ben McDonald, two years on from the day he tragically died taking part in the event in 2018.

Ben McDonald was 25 years old when he suffered a cardiac arrest after crossing the finish line. Sadly, he later died in hospital.

Although the Cardiff Half Marathon has been postponed for this year due to COVID-19, Sharon will be walking the 13.1-mile course this year on October 7th, hoping to raise vital funds for the Ben McDonald Heart Screening Fund, as part of the charity’s Half4Hearts appeal.

The charity launched its appeal to encourage would-be marathon runners to still partake in a 13.1 mile run, walk or jog to support Welsh Hearts. The McDonald family and friends of Ben completed the half marathon last year alongside Sharon, who has worked closely with the McDonald family since losing Ben.

Welsh Hearts established the The Ben McDonald Heart Screening Fund but is now working in partnership with Calon Heart Screening, with the aim of screening every young heart in Wales for heart abnormalities. The fund was set up in Ben’s memory to offer free heart screening to members of the public aged between 8 and 45 in a bid to reduce the hundreds of deaths every year caused by undiagnosed heart conditions.

Every week in the UK, 12 apparently fit and healthy young people die from undiagnosed cardiac conditions. It’s also estimated that one in every 200 people who have their heart tested will be identified as having a potentially life-threatening heart condition.

Sharon says:

“I was disappointed to hear the Cardiff Half Marathon was cancelled this year. As a charity, our fundraising activities have been severely impacted by the pandemic. But our work is just as vital as ever, and we’re doing all we can to ensure nobody dies of heart conditions that could have been prevented or treated.

I have had the privilege of getting to know Ben’s parents and family over the last two years, and they will be in my thoughts every step of the way! Last year I had the honour of walking with The McDonald family on the first anniversary of Ben’s death. The 13.1 mile course took me 3.5 hours to complete, and and it gave me an incredible sense of achievement get to the finish line, alongside Ben’s family and friends.”

Sharon adds:

"No parent ever expects to lose their child especially to heart failure. Yet in 2018, 25 year old Ben McDonald crossed the finish line at Cardiff Half Marathon and suddenly collapsed. We started #Half4Hearts in Ben’s memory to ensure that no other families lose their children to undiagnosed heart conditions.

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Even though this year’s Cardiff Half has been postponed, we’re honouring this event and asking you to join us on the 4th October, or any date after that, to take part in the half marathon virtually to help raise money for heart screening.”

You can support The Ben McDonald Heart Screening fund by texting BENSCREENING to 70085, to donate £5. Alternatively, you can make a one off donation of any amount from £1 to £20.

Sharon adds:

"No parent ever expects to lose their child especially to heart failure. Yet in 2018, 25 year old Ben McDonald crossed the finish line at Cardiff Half Marathon and suddenly collapsed. We started #Half4Hearts in Ben’s memory to ensure that no other families lose their children to undiagnosed heart conditions.

Even though this year’s Cardiff Half has been postponed, we’re honouring this event and asking you to join us on the 4th October, or any date after that, to take part in the half marathon virtually to help raise money for heart screening.”

You can support The Ben McDonald Heart Screening fund by texting BENSCREENING to 70085, to donate £5. Alternatively, you can make a one off donation of any amount from £1 to £20.

You can also donate online at www.welshhearts.org/donate.

Every penny raised will go towards Calon Heart Screening Wales working in partnership with Welsh Hearts to screen young people in Wales.

You can find out more about #Half4Hearts and how you can get involved at: www.welshhearts.org/half-4-hearts

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