Sharing the human stories behind clinical heart research

—This spot from the British Heart Foundation has particular resonance for Craig Redmond, who knows from personal experience about the importance of heart health—

“I’d rather have an unemployed husband than a dead one,” my wife insisted, with her usual smart missile candour.

And with that, after months and months of sleepless, stress-plagued nights and ever-present strain that I described as the fat dude sitting on my chest, I went in and told the CEO that it was either me or the sociopath running the business side of the agency. One of us had to go.

Of course, in all its wisdom, the New York head office wasn’t going to choose the latter. So, they sent me off on my merry way.

A few months later, I had moved on to become CD at another small, local shop. In the meantime, my psychotic nemesis had quit and skipped town after being investigated for a physical altercation with a female media director, witnessed by other colleagues.

That’s when it all caught up to me.

I woke up on a Saturday morning in a cold sweat and felt an excruciating pain erupting beneath my ribs. My daughter, at my wife’s behest, took one look at me, checked my pulse, and called 911. I felt a lot better in the ER, but they ran blood tests and discovered that, sure enough, I had experienced a minor myocardial infarction. “What’s that?” I asked stupidly. “You’ve had a very mild heart attack,” the doctor told me, all too casually.

The next thing I knew, a tough looking nurse was asking me to hike my hospital gown so she could shave my nether regions. I reminded her that the organ needing attention was located much further north. But she ignored me, and soon thereafter an angioplasty catheter was plunged into my thigh.

Just a week later, I was back at work as if nothing had ever happened, and that fat, chest squatter dude had been mercifully retired.

But the cardiologist asked if he could include me in a long-term study he was conducting on stress and heart disease. He said my particularly young age made me the perfect guinea pig for his research. I agreed, and still see him once a year to this day, despite never having any health issues again since that fateful morn.

“Why, Redmond, are you telling us this tall tale about your tenacious ticker?” you’re probably asking yourself, albeit with a little less alliteration.

Well, I saw this spot for the British Heart Foundation and really admired how they turned the typically cold, clinical, and detached language of heart research into something meaningful by simply showing how those words are ultimately defined.

Narrated in the resolute yet soulfully soothing voice of Peaky Blinders lead Cillian Murphy, it doesn’t just inform viewers how their donations are enabling medical breakthroughs that would have been considered science-fiction a few years ago. It also reminds us that behind every one of those medical advances is a very human story of hope.

Stories not unlike my own.

Craig Redmond is a creative leader with Palmer Stamnes and Co, an independent family of marketing communication companies.