Sep 4 2009 by Ian Russell, Kilmarnock Standard
A YOUNG nurse from Galston who was seriously ill with heart disease is to hold a charity ceilidh in Glasgow later this month.
Former Loudoun Academy pupil Mhairi Morrison, 23, has arrhytmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC), a disease that causes fat and scar tissue to develop in the heart muscle.
But Mhairi has been so impressed with the help she’s had from the Cardiomyopathy Association, a charity that provides information and support for people suffering from the illness, that she’s organised the ceilidh to raise money to boost the association’s funds.
The condition ARVC can interrupt the heart’s normal rhythm and affect its pumping power. When Mhairi was first diagnosed with heart problems three years ago, her heart’s pumping power was down to less than a quarter than that of a normal heart.
She was given medication, but her condition deteriorated and she was referred to the Heart Hospital in London. Doctors there diagnosed ARVC. They feared too that she was at risk of dying suddenly from the condition. So they fitted Mhairi with an internal defibrillator, a device the size of a pacemaker. It shocks her heart back into a normal rhythm if a dangerous one develops.
Mhairi’s condition gradually improved, allowing her to finish her university course and start work as a nurse in the high dependency unit at Gartnavel Hospital in Glasgow.
And she is now also planning a holiday in Australia that she had to postpone when she was first ill.
Said Mhairi, who now lives in Glasgow, this week: “Through the Cardiomyopathy Association I soon realised that I didn’t have a death sentence and I would see my 30th birthday and beyond. Thanks to the charity’s message board I am now good friends with other people who have the condition. I don’t know what I would have done without them. One guy in particular was amazing when I was in hospital and I wouldn’t have met him if not for the CMA. So I feel the charity is a very worthy cause and worth raising my stress levels for.”
The charity ceilidh is being held in the Nevis Suite at Glasgow’s Hampden Park on Saturday, September 12 and has a 7pm start.
Chitterybite, a band delivering an eclectic mix of ceilidh and contemporary music, are playing at the event.
Tickets, which include a buffet, are £20. For more information about the ceilidh, e-mail Mhairi at firstname.lastname@example.org or for tickets go to the Tickets Scotland shop in Argyle Street, Glasgow (0870 220 1116) or see www.tickets-scotland.com
Cardiomyopathy affects people of all ages, including babies, and is usually inherited. It affects around one in 500 people and is the main cause of sudden death in the under 35s. But when diagnosed and properly treated most of those affected can lead a long and full life.
For more information about cardiomyopathy, see www.cardiomyopathy.org or call the charity’s free helpline on 0800 0181 024.