Three friends from Suffolk have praised surgeons at Papworth Hospital after undergoing major surgery on a rare heart condition.
Brenda Grunwell, Nicole Barber and Helen Bacon have all been diagnosed with aortic dissection in the past three years and are keen to promote the first ever awareness day of the condition.
"It tends to happen to people who are middle aged 50, 60s but not exclusively by any means but because not many people experience this many people are not aware of it," said Helen, who lives in Bungay.
It's a rare but life threatening condition where there is a tear in the aorta. It's most common in people with high blood pressure.
Nicole Barber from Halesworth has twice been affected by it.
Thankfully her GP recognised the symptoms.
"I was only the second person he'd ever seen with an aortic dissection." she said.
Click below to watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Malcolm Robertson
Their shared experiences have brought Brenda, Nicole and Helen together and all have praised the NHS and in particular Papworth Hospital for their survival.
"Every day I'm thankful because I know I nearly departed from this world that day, said Brenda, who also lives in Halesworth.
"We need to get people to talk about it like they do strokes, cardiac arrests or any other killer disease."