In April 2017, John Rowe started having chest pains. It came as a shock - despite being diagnosed with angina 17 years before, he'd had no problems since.

After being rushed in an ambulance to the Bristol Heart Institute, John was told to come back for tests because it had been so long since anyone had looked at his heart.

The next month, a stress test found John had two blocked arteries and one very narrow one and he had a triple heart bypass.

John said:

It made me think about all the things I hadn’t been doing – I hadn’t been walking anywhere or washing my car. I had put it down to old age, being over-weight and just being generally unfit.

It was scary stuff. You don’t know if you are going to wake up.

The people who looked after me were all amazing. From the doctors and nurses to the porters and cleaners. Everyone must come to work having a bad day but with them you wouldn’t know it.

John's wife Elaine faced an anxious wait while John had his surgery.

She said: "We talked about it and we decided that we were actually very lucky. Even though John had to have surgery, we were lucky they found it – he could have gone at any point. We tried to look at the positives.

"John was in surgery about four hours. We went for a walk and I came back in the evening. He was in intensive care with lots of tubes and wires sticking out of him. I went to give him a kiss and squeeze his hand because that’s all I could do."

Now the couple are supporting the Bristol Heart Institute Appeal, which aims to raise £830,000 to help provide the latest treatments, surgery techniques and facilities at the BHI.

John knows just how vital it is to have the best possible care close to hand. 

He said: "My grandson was born last September and if it wasn’t for staff and surgeons at the BHI I wouldn’t have been here to see him."


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