Rangers Footballer Connor Goldson has opened up about life since his heart operation and joined calls for volunteers to join a pioneering project aimed at tackling Scotland’s biggest health problems.
Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland is launching a new programme in Glasgow in June to tackle Scotland’s health inequalities and reduce the risk of stroke, chest and heart conditions.
The “Health Defence” project – based in Drumchapel - will see volunteers provide health checks, healthy living workshops and ongoing support to people as they make lifestyle changes to improve their health. The charity is looking for volunteer coaches to make their time matter and provide support to people in hard to reach communities.
Glasgow City has the highest rate of deaths from Coronary Heart Disease in people under the age of 75 and the highest rate of deaths relating to long-term lung condition, COPD. In 2017 the life expectancy for both males and females in Scotland was lowest in Glasgow City.
Goldson knows first-hand how important it is to get your health checked. During a routine check-up a specialist noticed something unusual with Connor’s heart. He was later diagnosed with an enlarged aorta which without surgery could have been fatal.
Connor Goldson said of his heart condition and the charity’s programme: “It was just a routine check-up when they found the problem with my heart. It was a huge shock; I was terrified I’d never play again.
“It’s really scary to think of what could have happened if I hadn’t found out about my heart problem. I was really lucky. It’s a great thing that Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland is doing in Glasgow. It’s so important for people to find out their health risks and make positive changes.
“Make your time matter and volunteer with Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland’s Health Defence Team. You’ll be helping people in Glasgow make changes to their lifestyle so that they can live a longer and healthier life. When you have a health scare like I did it makes you realise how precious life is.”
Joanna Teece, Health Defence Lead at Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, said, “Too often where you live in Scotland determines how long you live for. We must do everything we can to tackle these health inequalities head-on.
“Parts of Glasgow have a history of poor health and low life expectancy, that’s why we’re starting the programme here.
“By supporting people in their communities and providing them with the knowledge and tools they need to live a healthier life we can make a change.
“This is people’s chance to get onside, volunteer with us and defend Scotland’s health. We’ll match you with someone who you can check in on, motivate and cheer on as they make healthy changes.
“As Rangers Charity Foundation partner, the support we have had from the players, the Club and the Foundation has been absolutely fantastic in helping us reach more people and change more lives.
“Make your time matter. Join our Health Defence Team and help people in Scotland have extra time with those they love.”
Today’s launch with Connor Goldson was arranged in collaboration with the Rangers Charity Foundation, which partnered with Chest Heart and Stroke for the 2018/19 season. The Foundation has pledged to raise £20,000 for CHSS as part of the partnership to pay to support 20 of the charity’s Rehabilitation Support Service volunteers and to fund 600 hours of its Advice Line service.