A Sheffield mum who had a heart attack aged just 32 has called on people to help fund research she believes saved her life.
Nurse Laura Needham, now 34, first experienced chest pains as she headed out to do some Christmas shopping the day before her 33rd birthday.
But the mother-of-two never considered it could be her heart, and it was not until her husband found her writhing in agony that evening that she was eventually given medical aid.
Tests showed the walls of both her left and right coronary arteries had torn, leading to a heart attack - a rare condition known as spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD), which predominantly affects young, healthy women.
A year-and-a-half later, she still struggles with the condition but says she might not be here at all were it not for 'vital' research by the British Heart Foundation (BHF).
That's why she is urging people to wear red and help raise funds on the charity's 'Wear it. Beat it' day on Friday, June 9.
“I’m so proud to support the BHF because if it wasn’t for the charity’s vital research, I may not be here today," she said.
“The thought of having a heart attack never crossed my mind, even when I started experiencing chest pains whilst out shopping. But by that evening, my husband Gareth found me on the floor writhing in pain that was worse than labour. After 24 hours in hospital, tests eventually revealed I had suffered a heart attack caused by SCAD.
"It has now been a year since my heart attack and I now see life in a positive way. Looking after a baby and a toddler has been hard and on bad days, I can only stay home and do as little as possible until my husband comes home.
"The toughest challenge has been how it has affected me mentally. I started to suffer from anxiety and would worry I would die suddenly and leave my little boys, Jack and George without a mum.
"I am supporting the British Heart Foundation’s Wear it. Beat it. Campaign and calling on people to wear red and host a fundraising event to help stop such an unexpected tragedy happening to someone else and to help keep even more families together."
Heart and circulatory disease kills around 160,000 people in the UK each year - roughly one every three minutes - and your money helps the BHF fund research into treatments for those living with these devastating conditions.
Last year, more than 15,000 people took part in 'Wear it. Beat it', raising over £750,000, and this year the BHF needs your support as it seeks to pass the £1 million mark.
* To get involved, visit wearitbeatit.bhf.org.uk or call 0300 330 0645 to get your free fundraising pack full of fun ideas.