AN ILKESTON athlete is hoping to become the first woman heart transplant patient to run the London Marathon later this month.
Karen Hodgson, 48, was told she had to have the transplant in 2006 after doctors told her she only had a year to live after she was diagnsoed with cardiomyopathy - a disease affecting the heart muscles.
She said: “Before the transplant I was on my way out, if I didn’t get the transplant I wouldn’t have survived.
“I was getting out of breath easily and having palpitations so I knew something was wrong.”
After the heart transplant Karen was determined to live life to the full. She joined Erewash Valley Running Club and last year, she was named the Ilkeston Advertiser’s Sportswoman of the Year.
Since the life saving operation Karen has completed two half marathons and won a silver and two bronze medals at the European Heart and Lung Transplant Games.
She will be raising money for the Cardiomyopathy Assocaition with her London run.
She said: “This is one of the ways that I can do something to give back to a charity that supported and helped me so much.
“And also to prove that if I can do this anyone can.”
Male heart transplant patients have crossed the finishing line before but Karen sasy she thinks she will be the first womn.
“I know that there have been men that have had heart transplants do it but as far as I know there haven’t been any women.
“It will be a challenge but it’s for a great cause.”
Karen hopes to complete the race in less than five and a half hours and raise £1,500 for the Cardiomypathy Assocation.
She added: “I am still a member of the charity and support the work they do. Cardiomyopathy is one of the main reasons that people need a heart transplant so I’m running to raise awareness of the disease and the need for more people to sign up to the Organ Donor Register.
“I wouldn’t be here if it were not for the kind person who signed up and gave me the gift of life.”
To sponsor Karen visit www.justgiving.com/karen-hodgson2. To sign the donor register visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk.