Phil is facing surgery... but you can beat heart disease in charity climb
A FATHER who is having life-saving open-heart surgery is urging people to climb the highest peak in Europe – without even leaving Derby.
Phil Wass is backing the British Heart Foundation's Beat The Peak event, in which people will climb the University of Derby's tower staircase multiple times until they reach the same height as Mont Blanc.
Phil, from Swanwick, said: "I'm one of the lucky ones. I'm having my life prolonged before it ends prematurely, which is why my family and I want to do all we can to support the BHF.
"The heights of these mountains will not only work your own heart and fitness but will help raise funds to keep other hearts beating too."
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Phil, 56, wife Liz, 57, and son Jay, 22, are urging people to take on the challenge, which aims to raise more than £700,000 towards funding ground-breaking research into heart failure.
Phil, a BHF volunteer ambassador, is due to undergo major open heart surgery at Nottingham City Hospital in February.
Phil has a leaking mitral valve and atrial flutter. His consultant advised that, without the forthcoming operation, he would suffer complete heart failure in the near future because of the strain being put on his heart.
A ceramic structure will be used to replace the valve and should last a lifetime.
As he will not be able to Beat The Peak himself so soon after surgery, Phil is urging the people of Derby to support the event.
Across six cities during March, participants will be able to choose whether to climb the equivalent of Mont Blanc at 4,810m high, Eiger at 3970m or Sass Rigais at 3025m.
The BHF is encouraging people to get teams together to work in a relay to conquer the University of Derby's tower staircase.
Sophie Jardine, fund-raising volunteer manager for the BHF in Derbyshire, said: "Over 750,000 people in the UK are currently living with heart failure.
"As a BHF Heart City, the community has been fantastic at supporting our fund-raising activity.
" I hope they get behind this event and put their hearts and trainer soles into helping us beat heart disease, for good."
The BHF is hosting a series of Beat The Peak events throughout the country in a bid to help raise £150,000. It costs £15 to register and participants are asked to pledge a minimum £75 sponsorship.
To register or to find out more, visit bhf.org.uk/ beatthepeak.