Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke

News

30 July 2019

Flash Harry frontman dresses red to back local charity event after surviving heart attack

Harry Hamilton, lead singer with Queen tribute act Flash Harry, who had a heart attack in March, is lending his support to local health charity Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke’s Red Dress Run, supported by MACE.

The annual event, which is being held at Stormont Estate on Sunday 29th September, is raising funds to fight heart disease which affects a shocking 74,000 people across Northern Ireland. The money raised will be invested into both local research to detect early signs of heart disease and to help establish a new local cardiac care service to support people living with heart disease.

Harry Hamilton, lead singer with Queen tribute act Flash Harry, lends his support to Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke’s Red Dress Run, supported by MACE, which is raising money for research into heart disease and new cardiac support services.

Freddie Mercury impersonator, Harry Hamilton, had a heart attack at the start of March, one day after returning from gigs in Bulgaria. Harry explains, “The band and I were playing a couple of gigs as part of a ski trip to Bulgaria. I decided to return home on the Saturday rather than the Sunday with the rest of the band and that decision may have saved my life. If I hadn’t come home early, I’d have had a heart attack in the air rather than in my kitchen.

“The heart attack was scary. I had just finished doing weights in my garage when the chest pain hit me. It was full on. There was no question in my mind what was happening. Thankfully my wife, Heather, arrived home just as the pain hit and called an ambulance. It was traumatic for Heather and our three daughters who were all at home at the time.”

Paramedics took Harry straight to the Royal Victoria Hospital where he had five stents put in. As well as having severely narrowed arteries, a blood clot had blocked one artery completely. Medical staff had to twice use a defibrillator twice to get his heart back into rhythm. Harry describes it as “a very close call”.

Within seven weeks, however, Harry was back performing with the band. “Physically I have made a very good recovery,” he says, “though I must say that the exercises I have to do in my cardiac rehab class are tougher than doing an entire Flash Harry concert!.

“The hardest part of all though is the mental and emotional recovery. I think about it a lot more than I should – what happened to me, what could have happened and whether it will happen again. I know I am lucky to be here. That is why I want to support vital research that could help this happening to someone else. NI Chest Heart and Stroke has fantastic plans for fighting heart disease and their Red Dress Run, which is supported by local retailer MACE, is raising money which will be invested in two very important areas – research into early detection of heart disease through a simple eye test and new support services for people who have a heart condition. What they are doing has the potential to save many lives.”

NI Chest Heart and Stroke and their charity partner MACE are calling on people to dress up in red and “wear their heart on their sleeve” at this year’s event, which is aptly taking place on World Heart Day. Participants are invited to run or walk 5k or 10k in memory of someone they have lost to heart disease, to celebrate someone who is living with a heart condition or to prevent heart disease happening to someone in the future.

To sign up for the Red Dress Run go to www.nichs.org.uk/RedDressRun.