A DUNS primary school teacher is feeling fit and fabulous - despite having an underlying heart condition.
And to celebrate the British Heart Foundation’s 50th birthday, Lynn Young has just completed a fundraising 50-day fitness challenge.
Lynn got involved with the British Heart Foundation three years ago when she was diagnosed with mild Coronary Heart Disease. And starting on February 1, to coincide with National Heart Month, the mum-of-two has tackled 50 different physical challenges in 50 days to raise funds for the charity.
She explained: “I decided to do something big this year as it is the BHF’s 50th anniversary, and I concocted the 50/50 challenge.
“I’d been a bit lazy, you see, and had been so busy that I hadn’t been able to fit in much running or exercise for myself. I needed a challenge to kick-start myself back into getting fit and this is what I came up with.”
The challenges ranged from making 50 table tennis hits in a row, to swimming 50 lengths of Kelso pool - using only her legs!
But despite tackling the tough physical tasks over the past couple of months, she says the real challenge was finding time to fit them in.
“I work, coach badminton several times a week and have a demanding family life with two children (14 and 12), a busy husband, two cats and four goldfish,” explained Lynn. “So fitting in all these challenges has been a big enough challenge!”
Lynn finished her 50/50 challenge last Tuesday with a 50 mile cycle, which proved to be a gruelling task, when, still feeling the effects of a 10 mile run the previous day, she was forced to negotiate a number of road closures.
“I cycled to work in Duns from Kelso and back to try to get in a 50 mile bike ride - I wanted to do something big on the last day.” she said. “I have never cycled that far in my life and by the end of it my neck and wrists were in agony. Padded shorts would have helped too I feel!”
Having always been involved in active sport, Lynn was alarmed in 2008 when she began to get breathless and tired after undertaking the simplest of tasks.
Following an angiogram at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary she discovered she had three partially-blocked arteries to her heart. She will take seven tablets a day for the rest of her life to regulate the problems.
“My heart condition is kept stable with medication, but it’s still not as I would like it to be,” she admitted. “I still get breathless when I’m dancing at parties, if I go out walking after a meal, and at the start of my running. But after about five minutes and a wee puff of my spray I’m fine.”
Lynn has taught PE for 22 years. “Some of the children I have taught over the years have had parents who have become ill with heart disease, or who had tragically died, so I have been able to understand their worries for themselves and for their families,” she said. “I have also had good friends who have lost their parents or a member of their family to heart disease. The more I talk about it the more stories I hear.”
With the special 50/50 fitness challenge now complete, Lynn has exceeded her original £1,000 fundraising target, having collected around £1,100 so far. And, aside from the much-needed money she has raised, she says it has benefited her on a personal level too.
“I have achieved things that I wasn’t sure I could any more,” she said.
“I can honestly say that my 50/50 challenge has been enjoyable. Maybe it was all a bit mad but I have managed to beat my fundraising target and hopefully I have helped to raise the profile of the British Heart Foundation too by wearing my swanky red, sponsored Promotif sweatshirt.”
She added: “This charity is very relevant to me, and to a lot of people, but people don’t need a reason or a charity to get themselves fit – just do it for yourself.”
If you’d like to contribute towards Lynn’s total, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org To find out more about heart disease go to www.bhf.org.uk