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Fitness coach raises funds for BHF after heart attack at 22

Alex McIntyre,BBC News, West Midlands

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Faith Harrison, 22, says she started feeling strange after the hockey game

A 22-year-old fitness coach who suffered a heart attack has pledged to work with the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to raise awareness of the symptoms.

Faith Harrison was rushed to hospital when she started feeling unwell after a hockey game in January.

Doctors told the avid gym goer from Shropshire she had been suffering a heart attack for seven hours.

After an emergency operation, Ms Harrison was diagnosed with heart failure and has now urged young people to not take life for granted because they are not invincible.

She said: “Having the heart attack and being told I have heart failure has been life changing. I had business goals, I had fitness goals, I had life goals.

“Now my goals are very different because my physical and mental health has changed so much.”

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Faith Harrison was an avid gym goer before her heart attack

Ms Harrison said she started feeling strange on 6 January after the hockey match in Stafford.

She got in her car for the hour-long drive home when her arm started feeling numb and her chest began to tighten.

Worried, she drove to her parents’ house, which was closer, where she told them something was wrong.

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Faith Harrison was diagnosed with a pre-existing heart condition

She was taken to the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford before being transferred to the Royal Stoke University Hospital by ambulance.

Tests revealed a blood clot was blocking her left coronary artery by 90%, known as a widow maker heart attack.

She was also diagnosed with a patent foramen ovale (PFO) – a small hole between the top two chambers of the heart.

The hole had allowed a normally harmless blood clot to reach the artery and create the blockage.

‘Not invincible’

She had an emergency thrombectomy to remove the blood clot but due to the severity of the attack, she was diagnosed with heart failure.

Ms Harrison thanked the medical staff and the BHF, who have been assisting with her recovery.

She raised £250 for the charity from her hospital bed and said she wanted to do something with the second chance she had been given.

To do that, Ms Harrison started to raise awareness of the symptoms and her condition on social media.

“For me, I want to raise awareness with young people that they’re not invincible and tell them not to take life for granted,” she said.