At 20 years old, the inspirational Joseph Barry joined Team Tiny Tickers to help raise vital lifesaving funds and awareness that there is hope after a diagnosis of congenital heart disease (CHD).
In his own words, Joe will be keeping us updated with his training and race story between now and September 10th as he takes on the challenge of the 13.1 miles that is the Great North Run. Here is the first instalment:
For some strange reason I’ve decided to take on the Great North Run in September (with my cardiologists approval)
I am running it in aid of Tiny Tickers, a charity which aims to increase the early detection of cardiac condition in newborns. At the minute 1 in 3 newborns born with a heart condition are sent home with no one realising they have potentially a life threatening condition.
Below is my story explaining why I have decided to run for this charity.
In 1996 I was born with everyone thinking that I was just a normal baby. However, it became apparent straight away that I wasn’t turning a normal colour. Instead I was blue and it turned out that I have a heart defect called transposition of the great arteries (TGA). I was immediately rushed for emergency surgery, luckily a cardiologist was in the hospital who was able to perform the surgery which saved my life.
17 days later I had my first open heart surgery to correct the condition.
Soon after, it became apparent that I also have Pulmonary Stenosis and in 2000 at just four years old, I had my second open heart surgery to fit a pericardial patch to widen the narrowing in my pulmonary artery. Everything seemed fine at first, but things seemed to go downhill again and in 2005 I had my third open heart surgery to fit a second pericardial patch to widen the artery again.
Then came my longest length of time without having any surgery, but I think my body was having withdrawal symptoms from hospital because in 2010 I started collapsing which resulted in a number of tests and four months in hospital over a year. When they found out what was causing it I had a pacemaker fitted in 2011 and since then I haven’t collapsed.
But clearly that wasn’t enough and in 2013, I had my fourth open heart surgery to replace my pulmonary valve with another human valve.
Since then, my heart has been doing okay which is why I have decided I might as well do the Great North Run – just because I can, and to prove to everyone that just because I have a heart condition, it doesn’t stop me from running.