TWO West Lothian schoolchildren are set to take on a capital running challenge to raise money for research into heart disease – just two months after their dad suffered an unexpected heart attack.
Sophia D’Souli, 13, and brother Lu’ay, 11, will join mum Jackie for the race, as the family prepare to lace up their running shoes for the Subway Helping Hearts Family 5K fun run at Holyrood Park this weekend.
The course takes participants on a short journey through the centre of the capital with the aim of raising vital funds for research into the prevention and cure of heart disease.
And the family, from Livingston, revealed they were inspired to sign up for the race after dad Joe, 48, suffered a heart attack in May.
Jackie said: “Joe’s heart attack was totally unexpected although he knew heart disease ran in his family as his father passed away in his late 30s because of this.”
“It was a complete shock to the whole family, especially when we found out his heart disease had progressed so much that he couldn’t have stents or a bypass.”
The race is presented in partnership between food outlet Subway and charity Heart Research UK, with events taking place across the UK during the year.
Hundreds have already run races in cities including Birmingham and Glasgow earlier this year, raising thousands for local charities which help to encourage people to get active.
The 5K series takes a twist on the traditional 5K run by including the “Field of Fresh” challenge – a giant, inflatable obstacle course which runners can enter at the 4.5K mark.
Families can also relax in the Family Village, open from 10am, which features free entertainment for all ages to enjoy, including free face-painting, music, games and more inflatable fun for children.
Jackie added: “We’ve realised that there isn’t a cure for heart disease and so there needs to be more funding and research to help progress and find a cure.”
“People also need to realise that diet, smoking and exercise are a big part of keeping your heart healthy, it’s not just hereditary.”
She continued: “Even though Joe can’t have stents or a bypass we hope that with the proper medication and the right lifestyle changes he can still live a full and healthy life.”
“This is one of the reasons we are looking forward to this run, we’re going to get some family time together and it is also making us choose to be healthier.”
Children under the age of 12 are able to enter the race for free, with other participants charged an entry fee of £8.
Jackie added: “We hope our fundraising will help us to give back a little bit and support this great charity in progressing the prevention and treatment of heart disease.”
The race takes place on Sunday, July 22 from noon.