A young mum who suddenly collapsed in her kitchen was diagnosed with a serious heart condition.
Sophie Elliott was a law student at the time, living with her then-boyfriend Mark when she experienced “the worst chest pain ever” and collapsed.
After being rushed to the hospital, doctors diagnosed her with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, which is where there is an extra electrical connection in the heart, causing the heart to beat abnormally fast.
The mum-of-two’s life became “dominated” by her heart condition, which left her unable to drive for three years or toast her 21st birthday as she was not allowed to drink.
However, despite her setbacks, Sophie plans to run the London marathon after years of “strict” restrictions on her lifestyle.
Sophie, from Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, told The Manchester Evening News: “I had three years of being quite strict and losing out on a lot of what I felt as a 21-year-old I should be doing because I had to be so careful as they weren’t sure how bad things could get.”
Sophie said earlier in her life, there had been signs there was something wrong with her heart.
She had experienced chest pains as she was growing up, but these had been put down to panic attacks or anxiety.
After a few years, Sophie had an ablation, which is a procedure that corrects abnormal heart rhythms by blocking electrical pathways in the heart, to treat the condition.
Along with medication, the treatment meant Sophie and Mark could get to the point where they were ready to start a family.
She sadly suffered two miscarriages before becoming pregnant with her first child, Grace.
Doctors have not been able to tell her whether her miscarriages were related to her heart condition or not.
“When I got pregnant with Grace things took a really bad turn because my heart rate wouldn’t stay stable and one day unfortunately I fell on my bump,” Sophie said.
“Grace was suffering from the stress of it, so they ended up delivering my daughter early.”
Two years later she had a similar experience with her son, Albie, who also ended up being delivered early.
Despite this, Sophie was determined to get back to full fitness and chose running as something she could easily control and keep an eye on her heartrate using a monitor as she ran.
Six months after the birth of her son and with the support of her cardiologist, she completed the Chester Marathon in five hours.
Now Sophie is preparing to run the London Marathon – and hopes she can improve on her time.
“I’ve done more training this time and I am a lot fitter because I am not six months post-baby like I was last time so I am hoping I will go quicker,” she said.
“Anything under 4 hours 30 would be really good – just a real achievement for me.”
Sophie, who works as a manager at O’Neill Patient Solicitors law firm in Stockport, Greater Manchester, will be putting her running on hold later this year when she goes in for another ablation procedure.
But she is determined to enjoy the day and raise money for British Heart Foundation before the procedure.
She said: “They’ve given us really good support and there’s been a few times when we have reached out for reassurance, so I just want to be able to give something back.”
Karen McDonnell, Senior Events Manager at BHF, said Sophie was a real inspiration.
She said: “She’s taking on this marathon challenge despite living with a heart condition herself – that’s an incredible achievement and she should be very proud of herself.
“The money she raises will go towards funding lifesaving research to help people like herself who have heart or circulatory problems but who still want to lead full lives.
“Thank you Sophie – and good luck on the day. I am sure you’re going to smash it!”
You can support Sophie on her Just Giving page here.
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