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Associated Optical to cycle across Costa Rica

A team is fundraising for Heart UK and raising awareness of familial hypercholesterolaemia

Stuart Baldwin

A team from Associated Optical will cycle 360km coast to coast across Costa Rica in order to raise money for Heart UK.

The director of the company, Stuart Baldwin (pictured), will complete the Big Heart Costa Rica Bike Ride with area managers, Nick Hamlet and Ian Hughes, from 23 November–2 December.

Speaking about the challenge, Mr Baldwin said: “I chose to raise funds for Heart UK because one of our team members, Nick Hamlet, had lost a close friend, Drew Hirst, in 2015 at the age of 23. Drew suffered a fatal heart attack. Nick told me about how much Heart UK had supported the family and I wanted to do my bit to help this wonderful charity.”

It was thought that Mr Hirst had familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH), which is a genetic disorder characterised by high cholesterol levels. It affects around 260,000 people in the UK but 90% of people are undiagnosed as there is not a national screening programme.

CEO of Heart UK, Jules Payne, said: “Heart UK is very grateful to all of Drew’s friends and family who have supported us and helped us to raise not only funds, but awareness of FH.”

“The diagnosis of FH is very low and most people who have FH don’t know it. Heart UK has and will continue to call on the Government to implement a national screening programme to help identify people with FH and ensure that they receive treatment to reduce the risk of fatal heart attacks and strokes,” she added.

To make a donation, visit Associated Optical’s Just Giving page.