A grateful mum is tackling a 5k run to raise heart-health awareness after both her parents had lifesaving treatments.
Stephanie Kaier, 35, from South Shields, is taking part in the Subway Helping Hearts Family 5K fun run at the Town Moor in Newcastle on Sunday, September 4.
In 2003, her dad Paul, now 61, suffered a heart attack, which left him with a heart infection.
Seven months later he received a heart transplant, and was able to return to work after successful treatment.
Stephanie, a mental health nurse in Sunderland, said: “It was a real shock. He was working away and had no obvious signs of heart disease except from a few chest pains.
"After his heart attack he slowly deteriorated, but the new heart changed his life. If it wasn’t for the donated heart, he wouldn’t be here.”
Stephanie’s mum Jackie has also experienced heart problems.
Three years ago, the fit and healthy 57-year-old, who did not smoke or drink, had a stent fitted on her heart after blockages were discovered.
Her parents' heart issues inspired Stephanie to change her lifestyle and live a heart-healthy life.
After her dad's heart attack, she quit smoking and is now a keen runner.
Stephanie will also take part in her third Great North Run this year, and has completed several 10K events.
The 5K series connection with Heart Research UK was important to Stephanie and her family.
She will be joined by her daughters Gabrielle, seven, and Emily, three. This year’s 5K will be Gabrielle and Emily’s first race and they are eager to win a medal for running, like their mum.
Stephanie said: “It’s great to take part in the run with the girls to help raise awareness of heart disease and have a lovely family day out too.
"It’s also a good way to help teach the kids about being fit and healthy and looking after their hearts.”
The Newcastle event is the eighth of nine in the Subway Helping Hearts Family 5K events taking place across the UK from May to September.
In what is an exciting twist, the 5K event will see families challenged to take on the ‘field of fresh’ for the final 500m!
Inspired by the Subway menu, the giant inflatable course has been designed to appeal to kids and adults as they make their way to the finish line.
For those out for a fast time, or feeling less adventurous, there’s still the choice of the traditional route because every 5K counts.
There be lots of free, fun activities on the day, and everyone who takes part will also receive a free T-Shirt, a free Subway lunch, a finisher’s medal and access to the Family Village.
Children under 12 go free and it's just £7 per person for the rest of the family when they register online.
Go to www.5ksubway.com for race information and to register. There will also be a limited number of places available for families to come along and register on the day - £9 for adults, and free for under-12s.