This is a personal testimony from Tony in his role as an ambassador for HEART UK:
On Christmas day Karen Kodish (41) will celebrate being alive.
Twelve months ago she almost died. In June 2012 her cholesterol reading reached over seven and she agreed with her doctor to go onto a lifestyle remedy. Throughout November and early December she felt herself going downhill. She suspected indigestion difficulties. Four days before 25 December she was suffering serious pains and on that Friday night, she went to the walk-in in Milton Keynes. The next evening, she smoked her last cigarette after deciding if it was acid reflux, it was making it worse. After another visit to the walk-in on Saturday, the doctor suggested bronchitis. She then went back for a third time on Sunday and was given an ECG check. She was told to go and see her GP. She suffered alone on Monday (Christmas Eve) and telephoned her mother at 5.30am on Christmas Day. She ended up pouring a glass of water over herself to counter the sweating. She dialled 999. Later that morning she had a stent put into her artery at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford. The surgeon told her she was within hours of dying of a heart attack caused by a clot.
She has lost two and half stones in weight with two more to go. She returned to a small amount of work after two months but did not regain full fitness until the summer.
She has now resumed her career as a brilliant photographer Karen’s website
She took this picture (one of a series of outstanding shots) at the recent launch of my book ‘A Flash of Lightning’.
Karen and I spent an afternoon together at Arts Central in Milton Keynes. This is us:
Her life stretches ahead of her. She made me proud to be an ambassador for HEART UK. I now know what the work of the team at the charity really means.
I lost my heart to Karen. She taught me that I should try to contribute as much as I can to HEART UK in 2014.