Lights, camera action for Sam

7th May 2018

This article is taken from our April issue of My Life magazine. You can read the whole magazine here, or to subscribe to receive a free copy via email or post please sign up here.

Sam's story

"I was diagnosed with myocarditis in my second year of university in 2012. I woke up around 3am to frightening, thumping pains in my chest that felt like I was being kicked in the chest every 30 seconds.

Unfortunately, on my first trip to hospital, my problem was misdiagnosed as the convulsions were due to a supplement I was taking. After being released, it happened again a couple of days later. After this second attack, I think it was clear that something else was wrong and after further tests, it was shown that I had an elevated amount of a particular enzyme that is usually present after someone has had a heart attack.

After a week or so of recovery, I came down with severe tonsillitis, thought to be related to the same viral infection. It was about one month in total before I felt back to normal. After being so fortunate to recover, I have lived a relatively normal life.

Follow-up echocardiograms reveal that my heart looks in good shape. The only after-effects I experience are a little fear and anxiety about sudden feelings or pains around my chest and I also hate being startled. There is a sudden rush of feeling that goes straight through my heart and I can’t help but instantaneously become very angry. It’s very embarrassing after a moment or two, but an interesting side-effect I would not have predicted.

My partner Emma found the Alexander Jansons Foundation (now the Alexander Jansons Fund) shortly after its launch via Facebook. Emma showed me and I instantly wanted to get in contact and offer any help. The charity’s founder Andy Jansons and fundraiser Patricia Dean were so welcoming and soon after, I started taking photographs and filming fundraising events they hosted.

At this time, I hadn’t long left university and I not only got to meet a bunch of amazing people and make lifelong bonds with other sufferers, but working with the charity allowed me to gain experience in my field of work. It soon followed that I was offered a job as a direct result of the help from the foundation.

I am now a freelance video producer and wouldn’t be where I am without their help.  Today, although the stated minor residual effects linger, I think it’s accurate to say, that had I not found the AJF, I would still be very fearful of living with myocarditis."