Madagascar cycle challenge for heart attack sufferer

Ten years after suffering a near fatal heart attack 400 yards from the finish line in the Forest of Dean half marathon, Geoff Boldero, 55, from Stroud, is getting on his bike to embark on a five-day cycle challenge in Madagascar on 28 September 2018 to help raise £5000 for the HELP Appeal. It’s the only charity in the country dedicated to funding the construction of hospital helipads.

Despite being a veteran runner, Geoff suffered a cardiac arrest when he was 45 and his rescue at the race was reported in The Forester in 2008. After an intensive care consultant and nurse who were competing began massaging his heart and providing CPR for 16 minutes, Geoff was then airlifted to Gloucester Royal Hospital’s helipad so he could access emergency treatment quickly. Soon afterwards, the helipad needed to be upgraded and extended, so the HELP Appeal contributed £70,000 to make this happen, as it dramatically reduces transfer times for critically ill and injured patients.

Ten years on, Geoff is able to explain what happened and why he’s supporting the HELP Appeal:

“It turned out that I had a breakdown of muscle tissue which released toxic chemicals into my bloodstream and caused my heart to stop. I was effectively poisoning myself. It took four months for me to really feel myself again. 

“But ten years on, I feel great. I don’t do much running these days but still wanted to challenge myself so I decided to take up cycling and the Stroud hills are great for training on. I’m 55 now and thought this could be one of my last chances to take on something as demanding as the Madagascar cycle challenge.  As it’s also the tenth anniversary of me surviving my heart attack, I wanted to give back to the HELP Appeal.

“The charity is a lifeline for so many people as it helps to save precious time in getting very ill patients to the emergency care they urgently need. That early intervention, which helipads allow, is critical.

“Madagascar has a very tough environment with extreme terrain, basic roads and a very hot climate which will all be very challenging. But it will be completely worth it if I raise £5000.”

Lois Benton, Fundraising Executive at the HELP Appeal added: “We are very touched that Geoff wants to support the charity. Time is life, which he completely understands after his experience. Geoff’s donation will help to build more helipads and reduce the amount of time it takes to get a critically ill patient into hospital care, which is vital to their survival and recovery. Thank you Geoff.”

To support Geoff click HERE.