A Pwllheli father-of-three is running the Swansea half marathon next month in aid of the charity that helped save his life.

Steve Lewis will be joined by his daughter Jamie, 22, to take on the 13.1 miles JCP Swansea Half Marathon on 17 October.

Two years ago, Steve was at work in a bike shop when he thought he was beginning to suffer from a panic attack. After collapsing at work his wife rushed him to hospital, where it became apparent that he was suffering from a STEMI heart attack.

Time was critical and Steve was flown to Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, where a team of doctors was waiting for him to undergo surgery.

A STEMI is the most serious type of heart attack, in which a total blockage of the coronary artery leads to a long interruption to the blood supply.

Steve added: “I had two stents inserted into my right coronary artery, it was a close call. If I had made the journey by traditional ambulance, I wouldn't have survived, which all of the Cardiologists and Staff at Glan Clwyd agreed on.

“After a STEMI heart attack such as mine, called the ‘widow maker’, the fact that the Wales Air Ambulance was able to get to me so quickly and get me to the hospital so rapidly ensured that any scarring to my heart was kept to a minimum, which has enabled me to do the marathon! Things could have been a lot worse.”

Steve and Jamie’s friends and family have been supportive of their fundraiser. Despite Steve not starting any serious training until last month, as he was uncertain if the event would still go ahead, he ran 16 times throughout the month to clock off 75 miles and spent ten and a half hours on the treadmill.

This month he has been increasing his mileage and has so far completed five runs, covering 41miles.

Steve, who is a grandad to Jamie’s daughter Mabli, added: “I didn't start any serious training until the first of August but once it looked like it was a guaranteed to go ahead, I swept the cobwebs off the treadmill and got to it! I did my longest treadmill run at 15.11 miles in a time of 2 hours 6 minutes. Within that I completed the half marathon distance in 1 hour 47 minutes - so I'm now confident that I'm not going to have a repeat episode and am happy to get out and about running.”

In December 2020, the Charity achieved its aim of operating a 24/7 service. Wales now has access to the service’s Emergency Department-standard critical care around the clock and to keep the helicopters in the air, the Charity needs to raise £8 million every year.

Reflecting on the importance of the 24/7 lifesaving service that saved his life, Steve, said: “The Wales Air Ambulance is of vital importance to us all. The majority of the population of Wales is rural and scattered about, with busy roads - especially in the summer months. Without having the Wales Air Ambulance, we would definitely have a much higher mortality rate.

“I can't thank them enough. My granddaughter was born a month after my heart attack. I can't bear thinking that if it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have had the chance to meet her.”

Louise Courtnage, community fundraiser for the Wales Air Ambulance said: “Thank you to Steve and Jamie who will be running Swansea Half marathon in aid of the Charity next month. Steve’s story shows how time is critical and without our lifesaving service he wouldn’t be here today. It is so inspiring to hear that he’s recovered well and is raising funds for a charity which is close to his heart.  They’ve already smashed their £200 fundraiser target by raising £460. Good luck to both of you.”

You can show your support to Steve and Jamie by donating with their Just Giving page Steve Lewis -STOZZEY

There are several ways that the public can continue to support the Wales Air Ambulance. These include online donations, signing up to the Charity’s Lifesaving Lottery or by coming up with their own innovative ways to fundraise at home. Further information can be found via www.walesairambulance.com

Alternatively, a £5 text-message donation can be made by texting the word HELI to 70711.