Hazel's gift for future generations

I am passionate that HEART UK should be there for my family and the next generation of children and adults affected by high cholesterol
Hazel Gallagher

As a young, busy mum of two with a lifelong love of sport, Hazel didn’t consider herself at risk of having high cholesterol. But an appointment with a consultant about a niggling sore throat led to diagnosis of a life-threatening condition.  

The observant doctor noticed the swollen tendons on Hazel’s knuckles and heels meant she probably had very high cholesterol.

Tests confirmed that she had a genetic disorder, Familial Hypercholesterolaemia (FH), which can cause heart attacks and strokes and lead to premature death. Hazel’s two sons were subsequently diagnosed too.  

Hazel with her son and grandchildren

“When I was diagnosed in the early ‘80s, it was such a shock as I wasn’t ill,” says Hazel. “Back then, the treatment was pretty grim - a gritty powder which smelt of fish (taken eight times a day), a very bland diet and a total ban on any sport or exercise whatsoever. 

“It was hard bringing up my young children on such a strict regime. Nobody had heard of FH and I felt so terribly alone.  

“It was a flippant remark to my consultant that there ought to be an organisation that led me to found the Family Heart Association, which later became HEART UK.

“Thankfully, we have come such a long way since the gritty fish powder days! New, more effective medications have been developed and we now know how the right diet and exercise can help to reduce cholesterol.    

“All the valuable work HEART UK do to influence change and educate health care professionals has contributed vastly to better diagnosis and treatments for patients like myself and my family.”  


Almost half of UK adults have raised cholesterol, which can lead to heart disease. HEART UK’s vision is to prevent early disease and deaths from cholesterol and other blood fat (lipid) conditions. 

Leaving a gift in your Will to HEART UK will help fund its Cholesterol Helpline and other life-saving services.  

“The scientific work is important,” says Hazel, “but the helpline is life-changing. People often call in despair after they have been diagnosed with FH and the advice they receive is so reassuring." 

Hazel’s lasting legacy  

“Leaving a gift in my Will means the good work I’ve enjoyed doing will carry on," says Hazel. "People’s whole lives are turned around and very often saved by HEART UK.”

“I am passionate that HEART UK should be there for my family and the next generation of children and adults affected by high cholesterol and FH. That’s why I am leaving a gift in my Will.” 

Find out more 

For more information about HEART UK, please email Charlotte at fundraising@heartuk.org.uk or visit www.heartuk.org.uk 

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