Actress Gemma Atkinson launches TV appeal for the British Heart Foundation

10 June 2018        

Category: Fundraising

Picture of Gemma Atkinson

Gemma rose to fame in Hollyoaks, and went on to feature in Emmerdale and last year’s Strictly Come Dancing. She presents the BBC Lifeline Appeal for the British Heart Foundation on Sunday 10th June at 13.15 on BBC1.

Doing it for Dad

Gemma lost her dad to a heart attack when she was just 17. This prompted her to start supporting our life saving research in to finding new treatments for some of the world’s biggest killers. The appeal airs the week before Father’s Day, the significance of which won’t be lost on Gemma.

“It’s an honour to present the BHF appeal film”

Speaking about her involvement with the appeal, Gemma said: “I’m honoured to present the BBC Lifeline Appeal for the British Heart Foundation. It’s a charity really close to my heart as I lost my dad to a heart attack when I was 17.

"In early 2002, my dad, David, started to get chest pains but he put this down to overdoing it. A few weeks later he suffered a heart attack and three days later he died. He was only 52. This came as a complete shock to all of us in the family. My dad didn’t smoke and only occasionally drank, he was physically fit and ate well but he still died of a heart attack.

"My dad was my friend, my protector and my hero. I couldn’t quite believe he was gone. I’ve been supporting the British Heart Foundation ever since to stop families like mine suffering the heartbreak of losing a loved one. The charity is funding amazing life-saving research into heart and circulatory diseases to help beat heartbreak forever."

Continued support

This isn’t the first time that Gemma has lent her support to one of our campaigns. As a long-time supporter of the charity, Gemma has taken part in our Manchester to Blackpool Night Ride and fronted our Bag It. Beat It. campaign to help raise awareness of women and heart disease.

The programme is available to watch here.

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