In 1961, when the British Heart Foundation (BHF) was founded, we were closer to putting someone on the moon than to understanding the causes of heart and circulatory diseases. Sudden death from a heart attack was so common that it was considered normal.
Today, the BHF is proud to support an active research portfolio of £446 million of research at 47 UK institutions. This includes funding the posts of over 1,700 researchers. From clot-busting drugs to treat heart attacks and medications to lower cholesterol, to developing pacemakers and pioneering the UK’s first heart transplant; for more than 50 years, gifts in Wills have helped fund research which has contributed to some of the biggest breakthroughs in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart and circulatory diseases.
However, while such advances have helped save and improve the lives of millions, heart and circulatory diseases still tear families apart.
This year has, of course, brought its own unforeseen challenges in the form of Covid-19. As a result of the pandemic, we face a possible shortfall of up to half our income. This could have a devastating impact on our ability to fund research and threatens to halt the progress we have made. Nonetheless we have been and continue to play our part in global efforts to tackle Covid-19. Our online support pages and helpline are still there for millions of people to access, some of our researchers and nurses have been on the NHS frontline, and some of our researchers are working hard to understand why people with heart and circulatory diseases are at an increased risk of serious illness with Covid-19. All the while, we’re making sure heart and circulatory diseases don’t get a free pass.
Our vision is still a world free from the fear of heart and circulatory diseases. You could help turn this future into reality by leaving a gift in your Will to the British Heart Foundation.
The research we fund represents hope that one day we will live in a world free from the fear of heart and circulatory diseases. Half of this research is funded by gifts in Wills which is why they're so crucial to the future of our work. If you’re writing, or considering updating your Will, a gift to the British Heart Foundation could help us fund more research to help us live longer, healthier lives, together with those we love. We call it Will Power.
A gift in your Will has the power to fund life saving research
Researchers Professor Nick Mills and Dr Anoop Shah.
A gift in your Will to the British Heart Foundation has the power to help our researchers continue their vital work in the future. However big or small your gift, collectively it could help mend broken hearts for generations to come and beat heartbreak forever.
BHF-funded researchers Professor Nick Mills and Dr Anoop Shah helped develop a blood test for heart damage that takes into account the fact that women produce much lower levels of troponin during a heart attack than men.
Research has shown that it can double the number of women diagnosed with a heart attack. With more funding from the BHF, the team at Edinburgh aim to develop the most accurate heart tests to help save more lives and enable doctors to take a personalised approach to patients’ ongoing care.
Shernaz Engineer, 65, who suffered a heart attack 10 years ago, describes how she was confused by her symptoms: ‘The first sign was a searing pain in my left arm which I thought was a trapped nerve. I carried on but the pain continued, eventually spreading to my chest and back. By Sunday morning it was so excruciating it woke me up. It felt like someone was pressing on my chest.
The doctor at my local A & E thought I was having a heart attack but I didn’t believe him. On referral to the cardiac unit at Hammersmith Hospital, however, and lots of tests, including troponin, his suspicion was confirmed. I had a clot in my artery and they put a stent in straight away. After three days I returned home with a cocktail of medications including a statin. I now have six-monthly check-ups and feel well. I thought heart attacks only happened to old men; I couldn’t have been more wrong.’
Despite the progress we have made, 180 people still die in the UK each day from coronary heart disease, the leading cause of which is heart attacks. Leaving a gift in your Will to the British Heart Foundation has the power to improve the prevention, detection and treatment of heart attacks, helping us to achieve our vision of a world free from the fear of heart and circulatory diseases.
Find out more about the power a gift in your Will could have
The research we have funded has helped halve the number of people dying from heart and circulatory diseases in the UK. But there is still so much to do.
If you are writing or updating your Will, you have the power to make a real impact on the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of heart and circulatory diseases for future generations.
Find out how a gift in your Will to the British Heart Foundation can have the power to fund our life saving research at bhf.org.uk/wills