AGED 18, Steve Eneas was told he had less than two months to live unless he had an artificial heart valve inserted.
Now, aged 51, he leads a more active life than he ever could before the surgery, and is helping out with our Round the Harbours bike ride in aid of British Heart Foundation.
He believes he owes his life to the charity’s research into a condition he was born with called aortic stenosis, where the aoritc valve does not fully open and decreases the blood flow from the heart.
To support the work that saved him, Steve will offer the services of his bike engineering firm, Bike Fixers, for free to cyclists at checkpoints during the ride on June 10.
Steve, of Draycote Road, Clanfield, said: ‘If it hadn’t been for the British Heart Foundation’s research, I wouldn’t have survived.
‘And the charity could only do that research because of the funds it had been given from events like this.
‘I want to help raise as much money as possible from this bike ride so that other people can recover like I have, and have the opportunity to get out there and enjoy life to the full.’
As a youngster Steve was unable to take part in any sporting activates and the condition worsened as he grew older, to the point where he was rushed into hospital for urgent treatment.
‘If I tried to do any sort of physical activity I would turn blue and would have to go to hospital and stay there for days until I got better again,’ Steve added.
‘I still wanted to play football with other kids in school and do all the things that they were doing.
‘The fact that I couldn’t made me feel excluded. But when I had the surgery I suddenly felt like I had a lot more energy.
‘I started cycling over long distances and found I could go further and further. It was brilliant.’
We’re calling on readers to sign up for Round the Harbours bike ride, run jointly by The News and BHF, to help us reach our target of 2012 participants.
TAKING part in the Round the Harbours’ 35-mile circular route is easy.
All you need to do to get involved is call 0808 100 2109, email email@example.com or log on to bhf.org.uk/roundtheharbours.
Entry fees in advance are £15 for an adult or £7.50 per child. Entry on the day is £20 for adults and £10 for children.
There are four starting points, in Gosport, Fareham, Havant and Southsea.
Participants will be split evenly between each point and finish where they started.
The ride is supported with bike engineers along the way and is family friendly, but it is mostly on roads.