Running for her Dad’s Heart

This October Adele Jecentho with be running a half marathon as a Heart Foundation Heart Racer, raising money in support of her Dad who had two heart attacks earlier this year.

Adele Jecentho running

This will be the eighth half marathon Adele’s completed, after she caught the 'running bug' in 2016.

"One day I was walking a fun run with my Mum and she said to me, ‘let’s run’ and I said, ‘don’t be daft, I don't run!', now three years later I’ve run two half marathon’s this year and I’ve got seven more to go – talk about catching the bug!"

When Adele was planning to run in this year's ASB Auckland Marathon she made the decision to run for the Heart Foundation to build awareness of heart disease, following her Dad's heart attacks earlier this year.

Adele’s Dad, Warren, had been experiencing chest pains throughout the day while on their farm in Kaitaia. When he didn’t feel any better after a lie down, his wife drove him to Kaitaia hospital, where it was confirmed he had had a heart attack.

While in hospital overnight, Warren then suffered a second heart attack and went into cardiac arrest.

"At about 3 o’clock in the morning they rung my step mum and told her to go back in because they couldn’t revive him. He’d had a massive heart attack while he was in hospital."

After Warren was revived, he was airlifted to Auckland Hospital for further treatment.

"I woke up one morning and my step mum was ringing me off dad's phone. She said ‘Dad’s had a heart attack and he’s going to Auckland for some tests so you need to get to the hospital.'" says Adele.

"By the time I got to him in Auckland he’d already had a stent put in. It’s scary, one minute he’s walking around fine and the next minute he’s in a chopper after having a heart attack. It can happen to anyone."

Heart health becomes a priority

Following her Dad’s heart attack, heart health has become an important topic for Adele.

"I didn’t really know anything about heart disease. We all think that a heart attack is clutching your chest and dropping to the ground, like it’s this massive thing, you know? But when I said to Dad afterwards ‘What took you so long to say something?’ He said it was just like electrical currents, like ‘spasms’, he didn’t feel like he was having a heart attack."

By running as a Heart Foundation Heart Racer Adele’s hoping to raise awareness of heart disease and get the message out there that it can happen to anyone.

"I think it’s important to educate people and get the message out there. It affects so many of us. I’ve lost two Grandparents to heart disease and it turns out it is quite common in my family."

In the lead up to the half marathon, Adele’s focus has been on training and fundraising. Her training involves three days of cardio per week and a weekly 13 to 15 kilometre run.

Adding to her fundraising effort Adele's also been making beaded lanyards and selling them to her work colleagues to use for their ID tags. With her creativity, plus her close knit family, she reached her fundraising target after only a couple of months.

"Because my family’s really close knit, one person gives money and the next thing a whole heap of people do!"

Following Warren's heart attacks, Adele says her Dad is now 'back to his old self'.

"Dad has gone back to being Dad. Before the heart attack he wasn’t feeling too good and he put it down to aging. But now that he’s had the stents put in he’s feeling so much better, it’s actually given him a new lease on life."

Adele says her Dad’s been supporting her every step of the way on her Heart Racer journey.

"There are still days when I wake up and think 'Oh, I can't do this' but you put your shoes on, walk out the door and you're like 'I totally got this'.

"It's always easier when it’s a cause close to your heart."

To register for the ASB Auckland Marathon event visit the Auckland Marathon website.

Other ways to get involved