Gym fixed it for heart attack victim

Henry Boagey
Henry Boagey

A HEART attack victim has battled against the odds to become a “fit as a lop” gym fan.

Henry Boagey, 65, pulled through a massive attack which left doctors scratching their heads. They studied his blood samples and told him: “We’ve got no idea why this hasn’t killed you”.

Henry Boagey

Henry Boagey

Henry saw it as a sign. It became the spur to kickstart his own fitness regime.

The retired electricial technician from King Oswy Drive, Hartlepool, admitted: “It put the fear of God in me.”

He began a training programme which has transformed his life.

Henry, a father-of-two and grandfather-of-five, now runs, cycles, rows and walks and said: “I am 100 per cent.”

He has become the latest backer for the Hartlepool Mail’s Race For Fitness campaign.

“Supporting the Mail’s Race For Fitness project really is worth it. If I can help one person to change, it will have been worth it.

“There was a time when I could not even walk 200 yards. Now, I can comfortably manage a few miles.”

Henry’s health fight began in 1990 when a heart attack left him so weak, his wife Jean, now 65, had to help him get upstairs after his release from hospital.

“It was a scary time,” said the father of Leigh Caracosta, 42, and Wendy Richardson, 40.

“It was another week after that when I had enough strength to walk to the bottom of my garden. After six weeks, I was doing seven mile walks.”

Life looked rosy once more until a fateful day in 2010.

“I was out of breath and I always felt bloated,” said Henry, a former Phillips Petroleum employee at Seal Sands where he worked for 33 years.

“Tests showed part of my heart had died altogether. My heart rate was down to about 50 beats a minute and my kidneys had started to fail.”

He took advice and attended a University Hospital of Hartlepool heart failure clinic run by Karen Hann. Then, he joined a nine-week scheme for people with long-term medical conditions who are referred by their GP.

Hartlepool GP’s referral co-ordinator Lorraine Harrison took him to the Headland Sports Hall gym. Henry said: “I can’t thank the heart failure clinic, and the other people who have helped me, enough.”

After gentle steps at the beginning, Henry was flying once the nine weeks were up, so he enrolled for more sessions at the gym.

Now, he can manage eight minutes of cycling, two sessions on the rowing machine and eight minutes on the treadmill as well as leg presses and leg extensions, all in one gym session.

He said: “There are a lot of people like me but they shy away from doing exercise. My message to them is ‘you have got to do something about it’.”

Hartlepool Borough Council’s sports development service runs the Hartlepool Exercise For Life referral Programme (HELP) which offers specialist support for people to encourage a more active life style.

The programme offers 10-week introductory exercise courses which provide a starting point for people who are either new to structured exercise, or who have a long term health condition that would benefit from an increase in physical activity.

Its varied programme covers everything from chair mobility to yoga, and pilates to cardiac rehabilitation.

It has eight specially qualified GP Referral instructors who can support, encourage and motivate individuals to meet their goals.

Patients can be referred by their GP or other Health Practitioner, or they can refer themselves.

For more information, contact scheme co-ordinator Lorraine Harrison on (01429) 284363.