Art project featuring four heart heroes set to inspire the nation to wear red

1 June 2017        

Heart heroes vanished into iconic red London landmarks to mark the launch of our Wear it. Beat it. campaign. The images bring to light how more than one in four deaths (26%) in the UK are caused by heart and circulatory disease each year. 

Thousands of people are set to join Mark Ellis, 55, Laura Fordham, 34, Rachel McCauley, 26, and Karen Jackson, 50, by wearing red on Friday 9 June, to help raise £1million for the our life saving research.

The four individuals were painted ‘invisible’ to blend into the seats of the Playhouse Theatre, into a bookcase of medical journals at the Royal Society of Medicine Library, in front of a vintage red London bus and an iconic red telephone box.

These individuals show the breadth of heart conditions that devastate the lives of millions each year. Hampshire-based Karen Jackson received a life saving heart transplant 11 years ago and Laura Fordham, from South-East London, has lived with a pacemaker since 2013 to prevent her heart from going into a cardiac arrest

Sussex-based Rachel McCauley contracted a viral infection resulting in the inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis) and lining (pericarditis), which caused her to be put in complete isolation for five days in January this year. Mark Ellis from Gloucestershire is celebrating 50 years since surviving open heart surgery after being born with Pulmonary Stenosis, a form of congenital heart disease where the pulmonary valve is too narrow.

They are alive today largely thanks to research we have funded. By taking part in Wear it. Beat it. at home, school or in the workplace, more can be done to stop heart disease in its tracks and put an end to people disappearing from their loved ones forever. 

Adrian Adams, our Head of Mass Participation, said: “While it may not be easy to spot someone who is living with heart disease, you don’t have to look far to see the devastation it causes to millions of people across the UK. Our four survivors show how lives can be saved and transformed thanks to BHF research. 

“We are calling on the nation to take part in Wear it. Beat it.. We want to see everyone stand out in red on Friday 9 June and host a red-themed fundraiser, whether it’s a bake sale, garden party or coffee morning. Together we can beat heart disease for good.”

Heart transplant survivor, Karen Jackson, added: “My scar is the only sign that I’ve faced a battle with heart disease. People are shocked when I tell them how close I was to becoming one of 160,000 who lose their lives to heart and circulatory disease each year. I even struggled to walk upstairs and dress myself at one point. But my new heart has made me feel the best I’ve ever felt and I’m forever grateful to the BHF for its commitment to funding life saving research into conditions like mine. I’m taking part in Wear it. Beat it. as it’s my way to show how great it is to be alive, and to do as much as I can to make sure even more people get a new lease of life like I have now.”

Take part in Wear it. Beat it. 

Last year more than 15,000 people took part in Wear it. Beat it. raising over £750,000. We are calling for even more people to get involved this year and help raise in excess of £1million towards heart research.

Take part