FOUR years ago Paul Packard had a heart attack so serious he had to give up work.
But with the help of his doctors, the 61-year-old, from Chapeltown, has recovered so well that he is a regular at his gym – and even helps other heart attack victims get their lives back on track.
Paul, who lives with his wife and two stepchildren, said: “As far as I was concerned my heart attack wasn’t particularly a bad one, but the doctors definitely didn’t agree!
“I gave up work to concentrate on my recovery and started gentle exercise again to help get back on my feet.”
Paul, who was employed at a care home before he was forced to give up work, signed up to the GP Referral Scheme, a 12-week course prescribed to patients who need exercise to tackle medical conditions.
His GP helped him take part in fitness classes and specially-tailored work-outs.
Paul said: “Being on the GP referral scheme not only gave me exercises tailored to my needs, but it also meant I was able to meet people who had been through a similar experience to me. That was just as important to me as learning about the exercises – you realise you’re not on your own.”
After completing the course, Paul helped create a support group for fellow heart attack victims at Concord Sports Centre, Shiregreen.
“I wanted to help others going through what I had been through,” he said.
Paul recently helped secure £10,000 funding for the group from National Lottery grants scheme, which will be used to fund free gym membership for 165 children of Coronary Heart Disease victims. Paul also helps run a walking club for the support group.
Dave Birds, exercise referral manager at Concord Sports Centre, said: “Paul is one of 10 members of the heart support group committee who dedicate their time, for free, to ensure those who have suffered ill health due to a heart attack or heart disease get the best advice and support. Paul’s commitment is commendable.”