Young heart patient Josh Andrews is urging people in Leeds to support a bid that could help other teenagers suffering from serious heart conditions.
Josh is calling on local people to support the British Heart Foundation (BHF) in its bid to win the national campaign Vote That Counts, which could see the charity win up to £50,000.
The money will go towards events for teenagers with heart conditions.
Josh, 19, who is studying film-making at Leeds Metropolitan University, used to attend the BHF’s meet@teenheartclub.
He missed nearly half a year’s worth of school when he had open heart surgery, aged 12, and found going back to school difficult.
He said: “It was weird when I went back. People were tip-toeing around trying to avoid conversations about what had happened.”
Speaking about the BHF’s teenage clubs, he said: “I’d always hated talking about my heart condition. But sometimes you need to talk, especially if you’re not feeling well or you feel down that you’re missing out.
“I’m a lot more open about my heart condition now. It will always be there. But it doesn’t hold me back anymore.”
He added: “I’m encouraging everyone in Leeds to vote for the BHF so other teenagers can benefit, like I have.”
Josh’s condition – double outlet right ventricle – means he has a hole between the two ventricle chambers of his heart, causing him to look pale and feel tired.
Jenna Hall, head of the children and young people team at BHF, said: “For the 70,000 children and young people living with a heart condition in the UK it can be tough as they deal with missing school.”
To vote for the BHF, visit: www.votethatcounts.org before October 21.
For more about BHF’s meet@teenheart club, visit: www.yheart.net