Mike backs heart research

Mike Hocking of Goose Green, Wigan, doing a sponsored bike ride in aid of The British Heart Foundation

Mike Hocking of Goose Green, Wigan, doing a sponsored bike ride in aid of The British Heart Foundation

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A WIGAN man with a heart condition will cycle 60 miles in the dark to raise vital funds for the charity which has supported him.

Mike Hocking, 43, of Goose Green, has signed up to the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) nocturnal event, which starts on Saturday, September 17 and finishes at dawn the following day.

He was born with transposition of the great arteries – a congenital heart defect which means the wrong side of the heart is pumping around the body.

At only three days old, he was taken to the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital for life-saving surgery. He was so close to death at the age of two that doctors performed open heart surgery but his condition means he loses his breath easily.

He said: “I can’t pump enough blood to fulfil my oxygen demands, so when I exert myself, such as hill walking or cycling, I lose my breath.

“During my childhood, I was always tired before others and I was banned from taking part in sports. But I consider myself pretty lucky as I am fairly active.

“I cycle to work in St Helens and I do a lot of fell walking in the Lake District but I find running impossible.”

The fund-raiser is part of a series of new night rides across the UK launched by the charity to raise money for the Mending Broken Hearts Appeal, which will fund pioneering stem cell research and developmental biology to work out how to repair or replace damaged heart muscle.

Mike, who has a 16-year-old daughter, said: “I have several friends who were also born with congenital heart defects, whose normal development has often been impeded and I want to honour them.”

To sponsor Mike, visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/mikehocking

To enter visit bhf.org.uk/m2bdark, email nightride@bhf.org.uk or call 0300 456 8355.