A TRUCK driver who survived a heart attack will set off on a mammoth charity bike ride today – almost six years to the day he nearly died.
Kevin Bostock was taken to the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, suffering from chest pains on May 5, 2005.
He was immediately rushed to James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, where he underwent a life-saving operation.
Medics fitted a stent, a tube to clear a blocked artery, to save him.
But now Kevin is feeling fitter than ever and today embarks on a 140-mile coast-to-coast bike ride to raise money for Tootill Amateur Boxing Club.
Kevin, now 49, said: “I had taken the dog out on the morning and had a tightness in my chest.
“I didn’t feel right.
“So I rang the wife and told her to come back from work and we went to the hospital.
“It was really worrying at the time. It was touch and go.”
But the operation not only saved Kevin’s life – he was given a new vitality which saw him take up cycling.
A year after his scare, Kevin took part in the coast-to-coast bike ride to raise money for the South Cleveland Heart Fund, at James Cook University Hospital.
Kevin, whose father John suffered a heart attack at just 49 and later died after a battle with cancer, said: “I thought 43 was young for a heart attack.
“But when I told the nurses what I did for a living they said they get a lot of young lads like me, who don’t do much exercise because of sitting at the wheel for hours on end.
“I’m fitter now, but I don’t look like a cyclist, I’m still a big lad.
“But now I’m out two or three times a week, doing 20-30 miles.
“I never thought I would be doing this before the heart attack.
“But surviving something like that gives you a new lease of life.”
Now, he is to repeat the epic ride, this time to raise money for Tootill ABC, based in Trimdon.
Dad-of-two Kevin, of Trimdon Village, said: “The late Alan Robinson set up the club from nothing in memory of David Tootill who was killed in a car crash.
“It’s a non-profit organisation that gets kids off the streets and the way it has taken off is unreal.”
Kevin, who works for Middlesbrough-based Ward Bros and is married to Susan, set off on a lone journey from Sunderland early this morning and is expected to reach Alston around tea-time.
Tomorrow he will set off for Keswick and on Sunday he will complete the remaining 30 miles to Whitehaven.
Sponsor forms are available at the Fox and Hounds, in Front Street North, Trimdon Station, and members of the boxing club are also taking sponsors.