Star-studded launch for charity’s bid to tackle heart disease

High profile Scottish supporters such as Billy Boyd came together to launch the exciting new appeal to take on heart disease in Scotland.' Picture: Contributed
High profile Scottish supporters such as Billy Boyd came together to launch the exciting new appeal to take on heart disease in Scotland.' Picture: Contributed
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A star-studded charity appeal to tackle heart disease – the nation’s single biggest killer – will be launched today.

Heart Research UK are launching their ‘Heart of Scotland’ appeal at an event at the Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh, featuring appearances from a host of high-profile Scottish supporters.

Singer songwriter Amy Macdonald. Picture: contributed

Singer songwriter Amy Macdonald. Picture: contributed

The Heart of Scotland is a fundraising appeal to raise and spend money in Scotland on vital medical research into the prevention, treatment and cure of heart disease.

The appeal has already gained support from Amy McDonald, Val McDermid, Mark Bonnar and others. The appeal is launching with a range of four striking coloured badges and one-off t-shirts created by designer Christopher Kane. They are on sale across Scotland, along with a raft of fundraising events across the country.

Mr Kane said: “The Heart of Scotland appeal is a cause that is literally so close to my heart. Anything that can raise awareness and potentially save lives is always worthwhile. Growing up in Scotland in a working class environment, heart disease was always prevalent. So many of my parent’s family and friends passed at an early age from ‘heart attacks’ and no one blinked an eye.

“So it’s good to be part of [albeit in a small way] educating and reinforcing preventive measures. This saves so much heartache.”

Former Doctor Who Sylvester McCoy proudly sports the T-shirt. Picture: contributed

Former Doctor Who Sylvester McCoy proudly sports the T-shirt. Picture: contributed

The appeal includes a dedicated week of fundraising and celebrations.

Money raised will be spent funding pioneering medical research into the prevention, treatment and cure of heart disease. The appeal has received cross-party support from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the David Mundell, Secretary of State for Scotland.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Heart disease affects far too many people across Scotland and we need to do all we can to help combat the disease. This is why I welcome Heart of Scotland and commend everyone involved in its work.

“By business, government and civic society coming together and combining our efforts, we can make a real difference to lives across Scotland.”

Cardiovascular disease causes more than a quarter (27 per cent) of all deaths in Scotland, or more than 15,000 deaths each year. Coronary heart disease (CHD) is Scotland’s single biggest killer. In Scotland, one in seven men and nearly one in ten women die from CHD.

Barbara Harpham, Heart Research UK chief executive, said: “We want this campaign to reach every corner of the country and raise money to fund pioneering medical research in Scotland’s hospitals and universities.

“The fact is, you are almost twice as likely to die from coronary heart disease in Scotland than you are in the south-east of England. This needs to change and we need Scotland’s help.”

Case Study: Actor who lost father to heart disease favours the ‘brave’

Scots actor Siobhan Redmond spoke of losing her father to heart disease at the relatively young age of 59.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and McLevy star said she would choose Brave as her badge.

She added: “Like many Scots, I lost my dad as a result of heart disease. He died at 59, the age I am now, of a massive heart attack apparently out of the blue.

“He laughed at the very idea of checking in with medical professionals – there had been a great deal of illness in my immediate family and he’d had enough of spending time in surgeries.

“More than that, because he knew he lived dangerously, he didn’t want to have conversations about his choices.

“This is, of course, a person’s right: we are all entitled to live as we wish if we’re not hurting anyone else, but there were books he hadn’t yet read and stories to tell and jokes he’d have liked to make again and I hate to think there might have been more fun to be had if he’d just got himself checked out.

“Recently I’ve had treatment for my irregular heartbeat – it had begun to be a nuisance and I am profoundly grateful to live in a time and place where it’s possible to have keyhole surgery on your heart as a day procedure. “No more disco pulse for me and I really don’t miss the drama ... the badge I’d choose, though I like them all, is Brave. Just pluck up the courage to have the conversation – if you’re worried about your heart, or about someone else’s, speak up.

“It won’t kill you, but the alternative might. Nobody really likes being told they have to modify their excesses or to move more, but it’s worth it.”