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Heart Parents lose 24 stone and take on Tough Mudder!

Wendy Joseph is a CHUF supporter with a particularly inspiring story. Over the past few years, Wendy and her husband have worked hard to lose 24 stone in weight between them and they now participate in physical challenges to raise funds for CHUF. Last year, Wendy took on Total Warrior and raised over £1,100! This was all because she wanted to take on a big challenge and raise much needed funds to support the work that takes place at the Unit that supported her family. Her son George had open heart surgery at Freeman Hospital when he was 7 years old. George is now a happy and healthy 14 year old and at 6 feet tall, he’s now taller than Wendy too! Here’s the Joseph family story in Wendy’s own words…….

On Georges 7th birthday our world was blown apart when all our worst fears were confirmed by the cardiac paediatricians at North Tees.

I’d been battling for years that there was a problem with his health but it was me refusing to leave the doctors that meant he would finally get the diagnosis of having a generic heart disorder. The hole in his heart was huge & the only fix was open heart surgery, which he had in June 2011. This was a great success & we now have a teenager with a “normal” heart.

Time stood still for us during this period in our lives, we were just functioning, after all we had 2 girls to care for as well. they were all really too young to understand what was going on with their brother & they were just as scared as we were. As a family we let ourselves go, focusing on George, I especially let myself go, I had huge guilt trips, was it my fault, how could I fix it & the main thing jut WHY?

Anyway, George had the procedure & only has 1 restriction which is that he can’t ever play rugby (but he doesn’t want the cauliflower ears anyway)

He has now been signed off from care at the Freeman Hospital & hopefully won’t ever have to go back to ward 23 apart from when he’s working there as a cardiologist (which was his choice of career after being signed off from the hospital. He wanted to fix other little boys hearts the same way that Massimo Grisselli had fixed his)

So now, both Andy & myself have managed to lose weight, a lot of weight, between us its around 23 stone. We’ve both worked on our fitness & now after all these years of being so very overweight I took on  the challenge of Total Warrior!! this is a 10K obstacle race (just Google it) I must be mad!!

For me its just giving back a little bit to the people who saved our sons life, its also part of the healing process for me as his mum.

Without the Children’s Heart Unit Fund helping to support the staff at the Freeman & helping to provide equipment to assist in the fabulous ground-breaking work carried out at this hospital I don’t know if George or many others would be with us today.

Not only did Wendy complete the Total Warrior course, she has signed up to do it again this year.

This time, her husband Andy will be joining her!

Children's Heart Unit Fund - CHUF

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