Heart-surgery father gets ready to run marathon

A DETERMINED father who had open heart surgery to remove a growth the size of a fist is running the London Marathon for health workers who helped him recover.

Rick Vine, 49, of Somercotes, near Chesterfield, is in training for the 26-mile challenge later this month even though he is still recovering from the effects of the rare condition.

The tumour on Mr Vine's heart was discovered after he collapsed at work, and medics told him parts of the growth had been entering his bloodstream and caused a stroke.

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Mr Vine, who works as a dog handler, said: "They told me they only find one of these about every 13 years and they are normally the size of a thumbnail – mine was as big as a fist.

"It was on the left side but if it had been on the right I would have died. I was very lucky."

The former soldier, who was in the army for 11 years as an engineer, has been treated by North Derbyshire Stroke Support Services, based in Clay Cross, near Chesterfield.

He said he will hand over his marathon sponsorship cash to the team, after they helped him off medication and assisted him with conditions such as memory loss.

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Mr Vine, who has sons Isaac, 13, and 10-year-old Jacob, has been preparing for the marathon by doing 10-mile runs with his dogs Lucy and Bailey.

He added: "I've always loved doing exercise and outdoor pursuits but not necessarily running and I did a marathon when I was 19 but nothing since."

Jenny Hewitson, of Derbyshire Community Health Services, said Mr Vine's marathon effort was an inspiration only five years after having such serious health problems.

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