An “inspirational” mum and a “dedicated” nurse have been honoured with a prestigious national charity award.
The British Heart Foundation’s Heart Hero Awards celebrates individuals of all ages who have shown immense strength in the face of adversity or who have made a significant impact in helping those living with heart and circulatory diseases.
In Scotland, nearly 50 people die each day from these types of illnesses and around 720,000 people are living with one.
Margaret ‘Mags’ McWilliam, from Inverurie, scooped the Charity Champion accolade at the Heart Hero Awards in recognition of her exceptional efforts to support the work of the nation’s heart charity.
Mags’ eldest daughter Jade was born 10 weeks premature and had a cardiac arrest when she was just 15 days old.
Jade had to undergo life-saving surgery and at the time, weighing only 2lbs 2ozs, she was believed to be the smallest baby in the UK to survive open-heart surgery.
Jade has required further surgeries over the years but has never let having a congenital heart condition hold her back and now 19 years later, she is training to become a nurse.
Ever since Mags has dedicated her time to raising awareness of the work of the BHF.
She set up the BHF’s Kintore, Kemnay, and District Fundraising group, and over the years, Mags has run numerous events, given talks to schools and businesses, and helped to organise large scale CPR teaching sessions. In 2019, more than 400 local people learned the vital skill as a result of her efforts.
On receiving her award, Mags said: “In a nutshell, the British Heart Foundation means the world to me.
“Without it, I wouldn’t have my precious daughter Jade. As a family, we have been deeply affected by heart disease. We have heartbreakingly suffered loss and survival.
“I lost my uncle when he was only 16 years old, my grandma at only 48, and my darling dad at 63.
“Our precious daughter is now 19 and we know without research funded by the BHF and science and advances in medicine Jade would not be here with us today.”
Meanwhile, Liz Douglas from Blackburn scooped the Healthcare Hero accolade at the virtual ceremony which was held on Tuesday night.
It recognises a doctor or nurse who has made a special effort to make a difference to the lives of heart patients and their families.
Liz has been a cardiac specialist practice nurse at Inverurie Medical Practice for the last eight years and was previously a community heart failure nurse.
She was described as a “compassionate, dedicated, expert nurse who goes above and beyond to ensure that all people within her community are well cared for”.
Liz said: “I couldn’t do what I do without the support and inspiration from the BHF and my colleagues at Inverurie Medical Group.
“When I was a teenager, my mum was very ill and spent a lot of time in the hospital and the care that the nurses gave my mum and my family was amazing.
“I came to realise that if I could do that as a job and if I could support people and make a difference to their lives as a nurse, that would be a worthwhile career.
“What is rewarding for me in my job is the little things, like when a patient takes my hand and says thank you.
“I don’t think I have done anything apart from my job, but I then see from their reaction that it has helped them.
“I love what I do and I’m very lucky to be in a job that I am passionate about. Even after twenty years, I still have the same passion to improve what I do and to improve the lives of people with heart disease.”
To find out more about the BHF Heart Hero Awards 2020 go to www.bhf.org.uk/heartheroes