Record breaking heart attack – Aidan’s story
SOMETIMES it takes a shock for us to change poor lifestyle choices, and that was certainly true for the Birmingham born, International designer, Aidan Keane, who didn’t just change his habits, he revolutionised them.
After suffering a heart attack in 2006, Aidan completely turned his life around, explaining, “They say ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ and that is certainly true for me. Ten years ago I was experiencing continuous and progressively worse pains in my chest. I was not overly concerned but one Friday morning they got so bad I was stumbling around my bedroom, trying to maintain consciousness and grab some breath. I was alone in the house and luckily, after 20 minutes this severe pain had subsided. My wife came home and we drove to City hospital. I was only 38 at that time, pretty carefree, and hadn’t even considered that I was in danger of having a heart attack. Even though I did everything you know is bad – I was running big business, taking no exercise, eating poorly, drinking heavily, getting very little sleep, I just thought I was way too young to have any sort of heart problem. I was dangerously misinformed and obviously pa
rtying my way to an early grave!”
“We got to the hospital and the staff were really good, quickly diagnosing what was wrong, confirming later that night I’d suffered a heart attack.”
Cardiologist Chetan Varma, now the Clinical Lead for the Cardiology Department at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, treated Aidan and saved his life. He was discharged home after three days and was off work for another six months.
“The heart attack changed my life completely. I felt like I was given a second chance to live my life differently. Before it, I barely did any exercise, carried a lot of weight and I was a heavy drinker. Dr Varma was very clear, telling me that if I did not change my lifestyle, I would probably not see my mid-forties.”
Aidan is now teetotal, and has become a strict vegan. He happily exercises every day for an hour, and in the last ten years has lost seven and a half stone. He said: “If any one suffers a heart attack and survives, I think they should take it as a gift, a positive on which to build a new way of life. I was determined my life would benefit from the heart attack and am very happy with the change and been reawakened in a sporting sense. I was a county athlete as a teenager but gave it up. Now i am playing racketball everyday and running for fun. i genuinely feel amazing as a result. I eat well and look back at what i was doing in disbelief. Genuinely, I am thankful for the heart attack, it shocked me out of this weird complacency and got me to realise how fantastic it feels to be able to be active again.”
Dr Varma said: “It is proven that timely coronary intervention saves lives. However, to continue to have both improved quality of life and to prevent further cardiac events, cardiac rehabilitation in the short term and persistent positive lifestyle changes really help. Aidan became a model in pursuing those principles and his drive for changing lifestyle is inspirational to others.”
But Aidan was not satisfied with that. He also wanted to put something back into the community as thanks for the new life he has been given, so chose to set a new world record for the longest racketball marathon to raise funds for Edward’s Trust, a Birmingham charity which looks after and supports children and families through bereavement.
He said: “I lost my father when I was ten years old. Fortunately, I was surrounded and supported by my family so I could go through that difficult time. However, that privilege does not happen to every child. I hope that the money that we are raising now will help Edward’s Charity to continue their good work in supporting the bereaved.”
Aidan completed his world record attempt on Friday 13th May 2016, when he played nonstop for almost 28 hours. He and his partner each burnt 18,000 calories, ran over 80 miles on court, hit the ball over 100,000 times, consumed 46 litres of water and wore 56 T-shirts and pairs of socks.
“Everyday I exercise and I feel my heart beating quickly, it reminds me how lucky I am to hear it, to be alive”
If you would like to support Aidan, please donate here. https://www.justgiving.com/racketballworldrecordattempt