Tony Larlham was just 16 when his dad Percy died of a heart attack. Percy had served in WWI, was a member of the Home Guard in WWII and aged 74 was still working, managing a sports shop.

“He drove home from work on the Monday looking awful, and the following Saturday, 14 September 1968, he died,” remembers Tony. “There was no proper treatment for a heart attack in those days. Mum called the GP, who said he should go to bed and take some painkillers. That was all there was back then.”

During the 50 years of the BHF’s existence there has been a revolution in the understanding, prevention and treatment of heart disease but there is still much to do. Heart and circulatory diseases remain the world’s biggest killers; one in three people globally die from them each year (one in four in the UK). For Tony, this is the reason that he has decided to leave a gift in his Will to the British Heart Foundation, the biggest independent funder of cardiovascular research in the UK.

Find out more about the impact that leaving a gift in you Will to the BHF could have at bhf.org.uk/wills

 

Life saving treatments

 

BHF funded researchers helped establish the cause of heart attacks – a blockage in a coronary artery – which paved the way for life saving treatments such as clot busters and stents. Fifty years ago, most people who had heart attacks died, but today seven out of ten survive to go home to their families.

Three years ago the huge improvements in care came even closer to home for Tony. He says:  “If it wasn’t for the research funded by the BHF I probably wouldn’t be standing here today. In 2015, I survived an aortic dissection thanks to emergency surgery replacing the aortic valve and root, with a coronary bypass graft and a pacemaker fitted, giving me a longer life and the opportunity to see my grandchildren. That’s why I’m leaving a gift in my Will, so more people like me are given a second chance.”

 

We call it Will Power

 

In his own lifetime Tony has seen the difference research can make. “When I consider what was available in 1968 for my father and compare it to my own experience, I realise the huge impact of research and pioneering treatments. I know that BHF will spend the money wisely and fund more pioneering research related to all aspects of improving heart patients’ lives. If by making a donation in my Will, it means that someone else has a better quality of life, or an extended life, then it’s a wise investment as far as I’m concerned.”

Tony survived to enjoy his grandchildren blossom into becoming little people. Leaving the BHF a gift in your Will has the power to keep families together for longer, by funding research into the underlying causes and potential treatments to beat heart and circulatory diseases. Research like this is being carried out by BHF-funded Professor Manuel Mayr at King’s College London. Professor Mayr and his team are studying the molecules and proteins that put some people at greater risk of a heart attack or stroke.

 

World-class research

 

This world-class research could mean that people most at risk get the treatment they need earlier, to reduce the likelihood of them having a heart attack or stroke and ultimately to reduce the number of people living with heart failure. Helping to keep more families together and giving people more precious time with one another. A gift in your Will is more than just money; it has the power to save lives.

 

Discover the power of a gift in your Will

 

Download our free Will Guide for more information about the impact a gift in your Will could have and also information about writing or updating your Will at bhf.org.uk/wills. Just like Tony, by leaving a gift in your Will, you can give others the opportunity to live longer.