South Shields man who suffered years of heart issues to cycle over 4,000 miles across America in support of cardiac charity

A South Tyneside man who suffered severe heart issues for over five years is set to cycle 4,000 miles across America in support of a cardiac charity.

Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 5:03 pm

Colin Mallen, 59, from South Shields, along with his friend Steve Wilkinson, 60, from Jarrow, are set to cross the pond and cycle 4,228 miles across America to raise funds and awareness for charity CRY, which supports cardiac risk in young people.

Colin and Steve chose to raise funds for CRY after Colin’s own heart problems.

In 2008 he was diagnosed with ventricular tachycardia, which affects the organ’s rhythm, and over five years suffered nine internal shocks from a fitted defibrillator, a punctured heart, had two stents fitted and even had emergency open heart surgery.

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Colin Mallen, 59, (left) with friend Steve Wilkinson, 60

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The years of heart issues caused Colin, who is a mental health worker, to suffer from his own mental health problems.

But he was able to use exercise as a way to recover physically and mentally.

He said: “My mental health was really impacted due to the issues but during my recovery I used exercise and cycling as a way to help get back to normal.

Colin and Steve with personalised cycling shirts ahead of the trip

"I’ve always loved cycling and I just love to be out there on the bike. I’ve done a few cycling challenges in the past but this is by far the biggest.

“I could have died in my 40s and CRY is such a great charity which helps prevent undiagnosed heart issues killing young people. They do a lot of screening and put a lot of money into vital research.”

CRY supports young people diagnosed with potentially life-threatening cardiac conditions and offers bereavement support to families affected by cardiac events.

Colin and Steve will be jetting off to Portland on Saturday (May 28), before starting their 39-day cycle challenge, passing through Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Chicago, Kentucky, Virginia and finishing in Washington DC.

Both Colin and Steve can’t wait to get going.

Colin added: “I'm really excited to get going. I’ve done cycle events in the past but never one like this and I can’t wait to see what it brings.”

To support Colin and Steve on the journey and donate to CRY, visit their Just Giving page here.