A local heart doctor will do his bit for charity when he sets off on a gruelling 500km Alpine bike ride next month. Dr Alastair Sandilands, a consultant cardiologist at Leicester’s Glenfield Hospital, is heading to the Swiss Alps on 15th May to take on the four-day mountain expedition in aid of the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust, a local charity that raises awareness of SADS (Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome).
Dr Sandilands has been closely involved with the Trust, which was set up following the loss of fourteen year old Joe Humphries who collapsed and suffered sudden cardiac death while out on a run in October 2012. Joe’s family has worked tirelessly to raise awareness about the disease in the community, going into local organisations and schools to give basic CPR training and donate defibrillators. They want to get SADS on the national health agenda so that everyone across Britain will learn life-saving skills.
Speaking to Pukaar News, Dr Sandilands explained that “I originally signed up for the Alpine Cadence for a bit of fun and to challenge myself, but then I thought it would be a great opportunity to raise money for the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust. I think their work is so important, and it can really make the difference between life and death. This bike ride will allow me to combine something I love doing along with my support of the Trust.”
As a cardiologist, Alastair specialises in investigating and treating arrhythmias – irregular heart patterns – and has first-hand experience of the impact of SADS, having treated survivors of cardiac arrest, as well as helping grieving families to understand the condition and come to terms with their loss. He expressed his optimism for what can be done to prevent unexpected deaths in the future, saying that increased awareness will lead to more screening and more survivors.
When asked about how he was preparing for the bike ride, Dr Sandilands, who will be completing the cycling challenge with colleagues, said: “I’m up to two thousand miles, I do a lot of indoor and road training but I know it will be different on the mountains. This is the fittest I have ever been and I’ve lost loads of weight!
“We will be cycling at least 120km per day –it’s going to be tough but I think that raising money for the charity will spur me on because I want to get those sponsorships. It’s the biggest challenge I will have ever done but I’m really looking forward to it.”
Alastair is asking for donations to help raise as much as he can for the trust. To support him, please go to https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/alastairsandilands1