AN INSPIRING Glasgow mum who underwent life-saving open-heart surgery during Covid-19 has spoken about the "terrifying" experience. 

Rachael MacIssac spent one month in hospital away from her baby boy, Ruairidh, after receiving surgery to replace a damaged aortic valve.

The mum, from Crookston, said: “Needless to say a four-week stay in hospital and heart surgery during a global pandemic was terrifying.

“I couldn’t have any visitors and didn’t see Ruairidh, who is just a year-old, for a month.

"It was an incredibly difficult time for me, my husband Liam and my whole family, but during my stay in hospital the staff at the Golden Jubilee in Clydebank were absolutely wonderful and supported me through a terrifying ordeal.”

Glasgow Times:

Rachel underwent surgery 10 years ago due to the same valve previously being damaged, but last summer, she began to feel tired unwell.

Initially, Rachel put it down to balancing working from home and looking after Ruairidh. 

However, after finding herself struggling to breathe one evening in August, she was admitted to hospital where tests revealed the valve had deteriorated and was leaking - causing fluid to build up in her lungs.

Now fully recovered, she is inspired to take part in British Heart Foundation's (BHF) virtual cycling challenge, MyCycle, to raise cash for life-saving research. 

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She had set herself a target of £500 but has already surpassed this with more than £1300 donated on an online fundraiser. 

“I am living proof of the benefits of the research funded by the BHF,” she explains.

“Their work over the last 60 years has transformed so many lives and I just want to do something to say thank you to them and all of the medical teams who have looked after me so well.”

Heart and circulatory diseases cause around 50 deaths each day in Scotland and an estimated 700,000 people in the country are living with the daily burden of these conditions. 

James Jopling, Head of BHF Scotland, said: “Rachael’s story is so inspiring and we are very grateful she has chosen to take part in our MyCycle challenge. Cycling is a great way to stay active and the MyCycle challenge allows people to take on a distance that suits them, knowing that every mile they complete will help fund vital research into heart and circulatory diseases.

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“Our research in Scotland and across the UK to help save and improve lives is only made possible thanks to wonderful supporters like Rachael and we need the public’s support now more than ever.

“Cutting research funding will impact the development of new ways of preventing, diagnosing and treating heart and circulatory diseases and we cannot allow the progress we have made over the last six decades to slow.

"That’s why we’re so grateful to Rachel fundraising for us in these challenging times, to help us beat heartbreak forever.”