Wife’s heart disorder prompts Corby man to raise £5,000 for charity

From left,  Darren Hodgson, Anthony Mackin, Jez Power, Josh Rowley and Chris Robertson at the start of the Rat Race
From left, Darren Hodgson, Anthony Mackin, Jez Power, Josh Rowley and Chris Robertson at the start of the Rat Race

Corby man Chris Robertson took on the world’s biggest assault course and raised £5,000 for a charity which helped his wife through a rare condition which caused her to pass out every day.

Chris’s wife Karen, 32, suffers from postural tachycardia syndrome, a debilitating autonomic disorder which causes her heart rate to race when standing up and makes performing the simplest task a struggle.

The 34-year-old architectural technician and four colleagues took on the gruelling Rat Race Dirty Weekend in Burghley, Lincolnshire, earlier this month, and raised £2,500 for STARS (Syncope Trust And Reflex anoxic Seizures). The amount was matched by their employer, Stamford-based UrbanEdge architecture.

The charity aims to ensure anyone with unexplained loss of consciousness receives timely and accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, support and direction to the appropriate medical professional.

STARS provides information and support on syncopal disorders such as postural tachycardia syndrome.

Karen battled for three years before getting a correct diagnosis, suffering with a racing heart rate, loss of balance, and frequent faints. Chris said: “Karen suffered for two to three years passing out inexplicably. It was as though she was running a marathon whilst just trying to stand up.”

“The symptoms were debilitating for Karen who is a principal teacher of her own dance company. She had to take time out from work and doctors didn’t have a clue what was causing her symptoms.”

In September 2012, Karen’s symptoms became much worse and she began passing out two to three times a day. It was at this point that she was referred to Glenfield Hospital, Leicester, for an implantable loop recorder (ILR) to monitor her heart rhythm during her blackouts. The ILR was a success and confirmed a diagnosis of postural tachycardia syndrome.

Karen’s accurate diagnosis and subsequent appropriate treatment have led to an improvement in her symptoms.

Chris said: “Today Karen’s blackouts have reduced in frequency. She is still undergoing treatment but things have significantly improved since her diagnosis.”

Following the support Karen received from STARS on her journey to diagnosis, Chris nominated the charity to benefit from his company’s Rat Race Dirty weekend fundraiser.

He said: “We took on the Half Mucker, a half marathon challenge which includes 150 obstacles on the largest assault course on earth. We got wet and completely plastered in mud running across land and through lakes. None of us have ever done anything as strenuous as this before but we’re thrilled to have raised funds for a charity that has given so much support and help to Karen.

“I’m overwhelmed by the support from family, friends and work towards our challenge – together we have raised £5,000 for STARS.”

Support UrbanEdge’s team challenge by visiting https://www.justgiving.com/UrbanEdgesDirtyWeekend.