KILWINNING’S Craig Potter is set to take on a marathon task of running a 10k for 47 consecutive days in memory of his mum Theresa this week.

Craig, 37, has set himself the challenge to raise money for Heart Research UK’s Heart of Scotland appeal, and to raise awareness of the dangers of undiagnosed heart conditions.

His mum Theresa passed away suddenly after suffering a heart attack at home in July and on Wednesday, Craig will be hitting the pavements in her memory.

“She never displayed what we perceived were normal symptoms of a heart attack,” said Craig.

“She never mentioned about a tight chest or about pains in her arm. She had woken up the night before and said she felt anxious, which was unlike her. The next day, she had been mildly nauseous and had a dry mouth, but was still working from home and was planning to meet up with a friend.

“My dad went downstairs to make himself a quick lunch. When he came back upstairs, three minutes later she was dead, it was that sudden.

“It was devastating, we are a small, close family. A huge part of our life was gone.”

With the family grieving, Craig began looking for a charity and a challenge to take on in her memory.

“Two things my mum was really proud of – she was a proud woman, and a proud Scot. When we came across the Heart of Scotland appeal, some of the stats shocked us. The fact that you are more than 50 per cent more likely to die from heart disease in Scotland than in South East England is just unpalatable,” said Craig.

“Since my mum died, people have come to us with their own tragic stories, other mums, wives, sisters, and daughters suddenly dying from heart conditions, and yet somehow it is still not perceived as a women’s health issue. We want to change that.”

Another stat the family found from the Heart of Scotland appeal was that currently, 47 people a day die in Scotland from cardiovascular disease.

“We were in the grieving process, and we knew we wanted to do something. Something that would raise money, but crucially, raise awareness. Should we have known these signs? Should people be aware? We weren’t, and certainly other people aren’t.

“This is where the idea came from, to run every day for 47 days, with different groups of people to really spread the word. 47 days means we’re talking about it for longer, more people will hear the message and will hear the stats.”

Craig’s challenge begins this Wednesday with the final day of his run falling on his mum’s birthday, May 9.

He will be joined each day by different friends, family members and Herald reporter Lorraine Howard.

Theresa had spent many years working in communities, focusing on education, health, campaigns against poverty and, most recently, response to the COVID pandemic.

“We had hundreds of messages from all over the world,” said Dougie Potter, Theresa’s husband. “More people than we could ever know. I knew she had an impact on people’s life, but the scope and range of people that sent us messages was breath-taking.”

Craig added: “The reality is, this is killing 2,600 women a year in Scotland and that’s what this is all about, getting people talking, reinforcing these messages.

“Mum was the last person you’d expect this to happen to. She was upbeat, strong,

energetic and lived a healthy life.”

Dougie went on: “Us talking openly about Theresa has already saved lives, with women asking for treatment where in the past they may have not.”

Support Craig’s challenge at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/craig-potter12