Bearsden heart attack survivor’s cycling plea to help research

A Bearsden cardiac arrest survivor is encouraging people to take on the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) MyCycle challenge which helped him on his road to recovery.

Gordon Neilson (60) from Bearsden suffered a cardiac arrest on May 7.

Thankfully, due to the quick actions of his wife and two neighbours who performed CPR until the paramedics arrived, he survived.

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Once stabilised, he was rushed to hospital where he remained on a ventilator in the intensive care unit (ICU) for 10 days.

He was diagnosed with ventricular fibrillation, a life-threatening abnormal heart rhythm and had a procedure to fit an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) to monitor his heart rhythm, as well as two stents.

After three weeks, Gordon was discharged and returned home to his family.

He started cycling as part of his cardiac recovery and went on to take part in the BHF’s virtual cycling challenge, MyCycle, to raise more than £1,200 for the charity’s life-saving research.

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He said: “I had a cardiac arrest about six months ago. I know I am extremely lucky to survive.

“Only one in ten people survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in Scotland. I’m forever grateful to my neighbours who performed CPR for 15 minutes before the paramedics arrived.

“I woke up in hospital, shocked and disorientated, with no memory of a couple of days before my cardiac arrest. It was an extremely tough time. We were in lockdown so my wife and family couldn’t come and visit me at all. I had an ICD fitted and it’s like I have my own personal paramedic to keep an eye on me. It wasn’t until the nurses gave me a leaflet about cardiac arrests that it dawned on me what had happened and how lucky I am to be alive!”

Gordon spent three weeks recovering in hospital and was discharged at the end of May. Once home he continued his journey to recovery, venturing out for daily walks.

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He said: “At first, I could only walk for ten minutes before I was knackered. Ten days later my walks were at 30 minutes. Soon I was up and walking for an hour a day every single day, some days I would walk for two hours.

“I decided to see how I felt cycling but it’s quite hilly where I live and was a lot harder than walking. I spoke to my cardiac rehab team to develop a plan to help get me cycling and invested in a heart monitor so I could keep an eye on my heart rate. I started cycling, initially just 30 minutes on a wee circuit near where I live before going out onto the open roads.

“I signed up to BHF forum Health Unlocked. It’s a way to find other people who had been through similar things to you and see what other people were saying about their conditions. I saw the MyCycle challenge on there and thought if I’m cycling anyway, I can earn some money to help the BHF as well.”

MyCycle is the BHF’s virtual cycling challenge. It has three different challenges to choose from, so is suitable for riders of all cycling abilities. You can choose to ride 100, 200 or 300+ miles over 30 days and raise vital funds for the BHF’s life saving research. It doesn’t matter how you cover the distance, whether you’re inside or out on the road.

Get on your bike and start riding to build up the miles and help raise vital funds for the BHF. Visit:

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