Knaresborough dad set to climb Yorkshire Three Peaks following heart condition diagnosis

A Knaresborough man who was diagnosed with a heart condition he never knew he had following a serious road accident will climb three of Yorkshire’s highest peaks in aid of the British Heart Foundation.

By Lucy Chappell
Monday, 21st February 2022, 10:55 am
Updated Monday, 21st February 2022, 11:03 am

Ryan Welford will take on the British Heart Foundation' s Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge to raise funds for the charity’s life saving research – and is now urging others to sign up to the event.

The 38-year-old was involved in a collision involving a car and a tractor in 2013.

Both Ryan and his wife Kelly were taken to Harrogate District Hospital and treated for their injuries, with Ryan suffering broken ribs.

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Ryan Welford will be joined by his wife Kelly and son Archie for the British Heart Foundation's Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge in July

But whilst undergoing treatment, doctors discovered that Ryan had a heart murmur.

Ryan, dad-of-one, said: “It was the first time I had ever heard about it, and I had no symptoms of any heart problems.

“Although the car crash was terrifying, I also felt quite lucky.

"Without having those checks, I wouldn’t have known anything was wrong with my heart.”

Ryan then received follow-up scans at Leeds General Infirmary and there, the medics found that he had a hole in his heart and a defect in his heart valve which was causing blood to leak from it.

Ryan was told this was a congenital heart condition, which meant that he had been born with the heart defects - but they had gone undetected.

In January 2015, Ryan underwent open heart surgery to repair the defects.

Ryan added: “It was nerve wracking and I began tying up loose ends.

"I proposed to my wife just days before the operation.

“Soon enough I got my head around the surgery and I told myself it had to be done and there was no other way around it.”

The surgery was successful and Ryan was discharged from hospital six days later.

He was soon able to get back on his feet, and following the surgery, he hasn’t needed any further treatment.

However the impact of heart disease hit close to home again when Ryan’s father-in-law Neil Corbett, passed away in 2019 following a sudden cardiac arrest.

Neil was just 53 and had been diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) shortly before his death.

DCM is a disease of the heart muscle, which makes the muscle walls become enlarged and weaker, resulting in the heart not being able to pump blood around the body properly.

The loss of his father-in-law, coupled with his own experience of heart disease, inspired Ryan to do something in aid of the BHF, which funds research into heart and circulatory conditions.

Along with wife Kelly, aged 32 and his son Archie, 14, Ryan chose to sign up to the BHF’s Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge which will be held in July.

Ryan said: “Kelly saw the event advertised online.

“She fleetingly said we should do that and then we seriously put some thought into it.

"I’m really looking forward to it, we’re not avid walkers so there’s a bit of training to do, but I know we will give it our all when we are out there on the day.

“Raising money for the BHF’s work will make it all worth it as the treatment I had just wouldn’t have been possible without the advances in research.”

The BHF’s Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge will see participants follow a route that starts and ends in Horton-on-Ribblesdale, taking on three of the highest peaks in Yorkshire including Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough.

They will also trek through the heart of some of the United Kingdom's most majestic scenery, including the famous Ribblehead Viaduct.

Jake Kavaliauskas, Event Lead for the BHF’s Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, said: “We are so grateful that Ryan has chosen to sign up for the BHF’s Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge.

“Our thrilling event will cover 24 miles and 5,000 feet of climbing, with participants facing rocky terrain and steep climbs that will push them to the limit.

"But it will all be for a good cause, as the money raised by people like Ryan will help fund the BHF’s ground-breaking science to save and improve more lives.

“We now need more people to sign up to this event to help power our life saving research.”

People can choose to take part in the event on either Saturday, July 23 or Sunday, July 24.

To find out more information or to enter, visit www.bhf.org.uk/y3pTo sponsor Ryan, visit www.justgiving.com/ryan-welford4