Hebburn dad who had heart attack during Great North Run last year set to complete it this year

Daniel Johnson had suffered a blood clot which caused his heart attack during the run last year. Credit: South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust

A dad from Hebburn who had a heart attack attack during last year’s Great North Run is set to run it again tomorrow.

Daniel Johnson, who lives in Hebburn and is originally from Newcastle, was on the Felling Bypass during the half marathon when he started to feel unwell.

Despite battling on, the 42-year-old came to a stop and sat on the grass verge. It was thanks to two passers by who were also doing the run that he received the urgent help he needed.

They got him to the St John Ambulance help point near Lingley Lane, where its team helped blue light him to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead.

Daniel and his wife Caroline. Credit: South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust

There, the team confirmed he was having a heart attack and stabilised him.

He was transferred to the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, where cardiology specialists used angioplasty under local anaesthetic to access his arteries through his wrist.

As they removed a 1 inch blood clot which caused his heart attack, Daniel experienced a dangerous heart rhythm.

A defibrillator was used to restore his normal pulse. The specialists also cleared plaque from his arteries and put in a stent to help keep a section open – he has since had another fitted.

While at hospital Daniel found out that he had suffered a blood clot. Credit: South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust

Now after almost a year of rehabilitation, Daniel is preparing to run in Sunday’s event.

Daniel, who is dad to 5-year-old Ivy and works for the railway has been coached through his recovery by South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Team, who he said saved his life.

He added: “Other people who have heard I’ve had a heart attack have said ‘How can you do that now?’ but I never backed that idea from the start.

"I’ve concentrated on coming back from it and people seem to think I’m mad for doing it and say I should take it easy, but I want to live well.

“I’ve had great care in the last year and I can never portray how thankful I feel to everyone for what they have done for me to help me recover.

“It’s a running joke that my time for this year’s Great North Run will be 364 days, two hours and 25 minutes, but I’m looking forward to getting over the finishing line this time.”

Daniel aims to finish the Great North Run this year. Credit: South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust

Simone, the Trust’s Project Lead for Cardiac Rehabilitation in South Tyneside, said: “We’re all wishing Daniel a brilliant Great North Run."

Dr Mickey Jachuck is a Consultant Cardiologist and Physician as well as the Trust’s Clinical Director for Cardiothoracic Medicine.

He will be running the Great North Run again this weekend, having helped start it in 2021 as one of four North East NHS heroes in the wake of the pandemic.

He said: “It is great to hear Daniel’s story and how well he is doing.

“I’m exceptionally proud of our team and what they do to help people when they are diagnosed with heart conditions.

“Daniel is a shining example of what can be achieved when we work together, as well as our regional expertise in helping save the lives of cardiac patients.

“I look forward to him crossing that finishing line.”

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