19 June 2020

A former heart attack patient has cycled the equivalent height of Mount Everest to raise money for the Bristol Heart Institute.

Andy Short completed 148 ascents of Prescott Speed Hill Climb in Cheltenham – totalling 29,029ft.

Andy, from Fishponds, was joined by BHI consultant cardiologist Tom Johnson and his daughter for some of the challenge.

The challenge

Andy said: “Previously I rode 7,500ft up Mount Evans in 2017 and I decided I needed another challenge – so why not 29,029ft of Everest.

“It was fantastic to have Tom and his daughter join me. It was nice to meet Tom outside of hospital with our shared interest of cycling and he was so appreciative of my effort - but it was the least I could do to repay my debt of life to the NHS.

“Coasting down a scenic hill after each ride was the best bit, but the aches did occasionally make me think ‘why?’”

Heart attack

Andy took on the challenge to say thank you staff at the BHI following his heart attack in 2015.

He said: “My GP suggested my previous chest pain was indigestion, but worth being checked out.

“I cycled to the drop in clinic, finishing with a brisk climb up Marlborough Hill. 20 minutes later and after three echocardiogram I was told I’d had had a heart attack.

“I had an angioplasty and a stent fitted. It was all done as it was routine, with no panic. It was just like going for an eye test!

“I think it is true to say that, without the experience at the BHI, my future would have been very different and probably rather shorter.”

Andy was joined by Tom Johnson, a consultant cardiologist at the BHI, for four ascents, as well as at the finish line.

Tom said: “Having a heart attack is a major life event that can have profound impact, our aim is always to return patients to a full and active life.

“Andy is ‘cycling’-proof of what we hope to achieve and it was a true honour to join him on ascents 86 to 89 towards the summit of Everest! I am only sorry I couldn’t have joined him for more of the challenge. I hope his inspirational story offers other patients hope in their recovery from heart problems and confirms the benefit of an active lifestyle beyond such a major life event.

“The money raised for Above & Beyond and the Bristol Heart Institute provides critically important equipment for the treatment of our most critically unwell patients. Previous support has allowed purchase of ultrasound equipment to assess patients post heart attack and novel heart support devices used for patients with severe heart injury."

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