Derry man Alex who has survived two heart attacks taking on million step challenge for charity

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A Derry man who has survived two cardiac arrests in the last four years has set himself a challenge to walk a million steps to raise funds for British Heart Foundation NI.

At his peak fitness in February 2020, while on an expedition in Germany, Alex Magee suffered his first cardiac arrest.

Sligo University lecturer Alex said: “I was sitting in the rest room on completion of an expedition in Germany when I collapsed, however I came around and was taken to hospital by medics. I suspected that I was either over exhausted or dehydrated. Later I learnt that I had my first of two cardiac arrests. Thankfully because of the quick actions of the medical staff, I survived.”

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In the recovery room, Alex suffered a further cardiac arrest and was taken to the cardiac ICU ward. After 10 days in the German hospital with no diagnosis, Alex was transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) Birmingham, where following further investigations, they put him on medication and fitted him with an ICD, as they could not find a cause or the root of the problem.

Alex Magee from Derry is taking on a one million step challenge for British Heart Foundation NI. The 46-year-old University lecturer suffered 2 cardiac arrests and is now walking the equivalent distance of the length and breadth of Ireland, approximately 470 miles during July and August to raise funds for BHF NI and is encouraging people in the local community to join him. Pictured with Alex is Fearghal McKinney, head of BHF NI.Alex Magee from Derry is taking on a one million step challenge for British Heart Foundation NI. The 46-year-old University lecturer suffered 2 cardiac arrests and is now walking the equivalent distance of the length and breadth of Ireland, approximately 470 miles during July and August to raise funds for BHF NI and is encouraging people in the local community to join him. Pictured with Alex is Fearghal McKinney, head of BHF NI.
Alex Magee from Derry is taking on a one million step challenge for British Heart Foundation NI. The 46-year-old University lecturer suffered 2 cardiac arrests and is now walking the equivalent distance of the length and breadth of Ireland, approximately 470 miles during July and August to raise funds for BHF NI and is encouraging people in the local community to join him. Pictured with Alex is Fearghal McKinney, head of BHF NI.

An ICD is a small battery-powered device which detects and can treat life-threatening heart rhythms.

Alex said: “I was so used to being fit and healthy for all my adult life and began to feel hopeful that the issue with my heart was stabilised by the ICD. I desperately wanted to live a normal life again.”

Life returned to normal for Alex, until mid-2021. Beginning to feel unwell, Alex was receiving regular shocks from his ICD, which became a “living nightmare.”

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In February 2023 Alex took himself to Altnagelvin hospital.

Alex Magee from Derry is taking on a one million step challenge for British Heart Foundation NI. The 46-year-old University lecturer suffered 2 cardiac arrests and is now walking the equivalent distance of the length and breadth of Ireland, approximately 470 miles during July and August to raise funds for BHF NI and is encouraging people in the local community to join him. Pictured with Alex is his 1 year old walking partner, his Bichon Frise Alfie and Fearghal McKinney, head of BHF NI.Alex Magee from Derry is taking on a one million step challenge for British Heart Foundation NI. The 46-year-old University lecturer suffered 2 cardiac arrests and is now walking the equivalent distance of the length and breadth of Ireland, approximately 470 miles during July and August to raise funds for BHF NI and is encouraging people in the local community to join him. Pictured with Alex is his 1 year old walking partner, his Bichon Frise Alfie and Fearghal McKinney, head of BHF NI.
Alex Magee from Derry is taking on a one million step challenge for British Heart Foundation NI. The 46-year-old University lecturer suffered 2 cardiac arrests and is now walking the equivalent distance of the length and breadth of Ireland, approximately 470 miles during July and August to raise funds for BHF NI and is encouraging people in the local community to join him. Pictured with Alex is his 1 year old walking partner, his Bichon Frise Alfie and Fearghal McKinney, head of BHF NI.

Alex said: “The increasing episodes of my ICD going off was having a detrimental effect on my mental health and well-being. I was scared to fall sleep at night as I would wake up sometimes just before my ICD would go off or I woke with fear that it was going to.”

His ICD was replaced and he was put on new medication.

The Issue with Alex’s heart has still not been discovered. He hopes to have some further testing carried out in the future to try and get clarification on the root cause of his experience.

Alex’s situation has led him to a new chapter in his life, wanting to help people suffering from the same situation. He said: “I want to get my message out there to help support anyone living with a heart condition to be strong, get help if you need it and stay positive. Even when it seems like your world has ended, it can actually be the start of a new chapter.”

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Alex Magee from Derry is taking on a one million step challenge for British Heart Foundation NI. The 46-year-old University lecturer suffered 2 cardiac arrests and is now walking the equivalent distance of the length and breadth of Ireland, approximately 470 miles during July and August to raise funds for BHF NI and is encouraging people in the local community to join him. Pictured with Alex is Fearghal McKinney, head of BHF NI.Alex Magee from Derry is taking on a one million step challenge for British Heart Foundation NI. The 46-year-old University lecturer suffered 2 cardiac arrests and is now walking the equivalent distance of the length and breadth of Ireland, approximately 470 miles during July and August to raise funds for BHF NI and is encouraging people in the local community to join him. Pictured with Alex is Fearghal McKinney, head of BHF NI.
Alex Magee from Derry is taking on a one million step challenge for British Heart Foundation NI. The 46-year-old University lecturer suffered 2 cardiac arrests and is now walking the equivalent distance of the length and breadth of Ireland, approximately 470 miles during July and August to raise funds for BHF NI and is encouraging people in the local community to join him. Pictured with Alex is Fearghal McKinney, head of BHF NI.

Alex now plans to walk the equivalent distance of the length and breadth of Ireland, approximately 470 miles during July and August.

He adds: “I want to help the BHF raise funds which may help treat and/or cure heart conditions. I would encourage anyone who lives locally and would like to join me on one of my walks.”

Fearghal McKinney, head of BHF NI said: “I would encourage everyone to put their best foot forward to support Alex, whether through donating to help fund our lifesaving research or by joining him in his incredible challenge. We wish Alex the very best of luck and support.”

To sponsor Alex and raise funds for BHF NI, go to https://www.justgiving.com/page/alex-magee-1720429855904

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