Chris's Story

Chris Marshall, 44, from West Sussex, was a ‘hardworking and happy’ doctor when a devastating diagnosis changed his life forever.

   ‘Come on, you’re fit and only in your 40s’

Chris admits he would play sport ‘at any opportunity’ and cycled more than 20 miles a day, to and from his job as a consultant anaesthetist at Worthing Hospital.

“I was very fit, driven, hardworking and happy. After a tough day at work and if things were going badly, I’d just go for a run.

“I didn’t feel anything was wrong with me and didn’t believe the signs and symptoms. So being a doctor, I naturally ignored them.”

In May 2016, the blockage to Chris’s heart was discovered by chance. While taking out the recycling, one rainy morning, the father-of-two slipped and fell down the side of some concrete steps,

“I remember saying to the doctors before my back surgery, ‘I don’t understand why you are doing an ECG on me, I’m fit and healthy,” he recalls.

Chris was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, which had caused left bundle branch block (LBBB), and a year later, had a pacemaker fitted.

Now he is joining Cardiomyopathy UK’s Heart Bleeps campaign to show heart conditions are not always the result of an unhealthy lifestyle.

 “There have been many thoughtless comments with little comprehension of the emotional and physical impact this has had on me and my family,” he reveals. So many people don’t understand what this diagnosis means. Many say things like, ‘Well you’re in your 40s now; Everyone’s tired aren’t they? or ‘But you’ll get better won’t you?’”

Cardiomyopathy UK Chief Executive Joel Rose says: “We want to challenge the stereotypes and help people stop making assumptions about what someone with a heart condition looks like.”