Berkhamsted woman takes on bike challenge after being inspired by her sister's health battle

One woman's pedal-powered project is being propelled forward by her desire to support her sister's recovery from a rare heart condition.

Thursday, 6th April 2017, 5:15 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 7:05 pm
Emma Russell charity cyclist

Emma Russell, from Cobb Road, Berkhamsted, will tackle the London to Brighton Bike Ride this summer as part of a 1,000km challenge she has set herself in aid of the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF).

Her efforts will also see her cycle all the way from London to Paris, and she aims to raise £500.

Emma’s cycling project began after her sister Wendy was diagnosed with a Type A aortic dissection in February last year. This very rare condition causes excruciating chest pains, and left Wendy fighting for her life.

Even after two operations Wendy was left with a large blood clot in her neck, a broken sternum and broken ribs, and later had her left lung drained, while she still walks with a stick and needs to sleep every few hours.

Emma said: “It was the longest day we’ve ever had to go through.

“You can never be prepared – and we weren’t – for what we saw afterwards. Wendy was covered in cables and the biggest shock for me was seeing her eyes taped down.

“I can’t erase those images in my head. It was a complete emotional rollercoaster.”

Emma already raised £2,000 for the BHF last year when she joined her own husband, Lee, and Wendy’s husband, John, with the 2016 London to Brighton Bike Ride.

Emma added: “When I saw Wendy get out of her wheelchair at the end of the London to Brighton Bike Ride last year I completely broke down in tears.

“I’m so grateful to the BHF and staff at the Hammersmith Hospital. Without the BHF’s research Wendy quite simply wouldn’t be here.”

To sponsor Emma visit