The Newton-le-Willows firefighter runs the Manchester marathon for his father

A FIREFIGHTER from Newton-le-Willows has entered the Manchester Marathon in memory of his father.

Stephen McCann will run the marathon to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation as he hopes to raise awareness of heart disease; a condition from which his future father, also known as Stephen, suffered.

His father died last April at the age of 61 during heart surgery.

Stephen, 35, has praised BHF’s work and said they would have lost his father years ago had it not been for the research funded by the charity.

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Stephen said: “He had surgery on his heart, known as ablation surgery, but it didn’t go to plan and sadly he died on the operating table.

“My father had a history of heart problems since his first heart attack when he was just 32 years old.

“Then he suffered two more heart attacks and ended up having an ICD implanted.

“This started in one night last year and shocked him 22 times in one episode. He later had his fourth heart attack and stroke before sadly dying while undergoing surgery last year.

“Nevertheless, without the BHF and the research it financed, we would have lost him years ago.

“So that’s why I’m doing this for the charity; I just want to give something back.”

St. Helens Star: Stephen pictured with his fatherStephen pictured with his father (Image: British Heart Foundation)

The father-of-three, who also ran the marathon in 2021, said his preparation for the race has been going well so far and he’s sticking to a training schedule as much as his fire station shifts will allow.

His colleagues were all very supportive and encouraged him to improve his time of three hours and 59 minutes compared to last year.

He also said he would encourage anyone thinking of signing up to go for it.

St Helens star: Stephen also competed in the Manchester marathon in 2021Stephen also competed in the Manchester Marathon in 2021 (Image: British Heart Foundation)

The firefighter added: “I know it sounds cliche, but it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity when you get the chance to run a marathon.

“The atmosphere is great, people just keep you going, clapping, handing out candy, helping to keep your energy levels up, things like that and when you’re done the relief is incredible.

“It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done – but it was worth it.”

Ellie Mynes, BHF Events Manager, said: “We are very proud of the research being carried out by the scientists we fund, but also very grateful to people like Stephen who are raising much needed money for this research.

“We know heart disease is a big killer – in Merseyside alone someone dies from heart disease every two hours – so I’m sure Stephen’s father would have been proud of what his son is doing to make sure that fewer people are going through the illness heartbreak he and his family have done.”

There are still places available for the British Heart Foundation for the Manchester Marathon. Learn more at BHF website.

To sponsor Stephen, visit The Newton-le-Willows firefighter runs the Manchester marathon for his father

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