Heart attack survivor Mark Pilgrim says 'I love this'

Radio and TV personality Mark Pilgrim, a heart attack survivor, has become an ambassador for the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa’s (HSFSA) awareness campaign this month called "I Love This". It is one of the biggest heart and stroke awareness campaigns launched in the country yet and aims to raise funds for the Foundation’s national community programmes, support research and save lives.

Mark has shared his story to encourage others to become more aware of cardiovascular disease, and has been joined by a number of other celebs, including Gareth Cliff, L’loyd Cele, Simba Mhere, Saskia Falken, Jo-Ann Strauss and Michelle Garforth-Venter, to help drive home the message and raise funds to save lives.

(Image: Mark Pigrim has placed his "I love this' sticker on his wife Nicole)

The South African public can buy the campaign’s “I Love This” stickers at Clicks stores around the country from 1 March and at Life Healthcare hospitals in Cape Town. Each sticker costs R5 - members of the public can then place their sticker on something they really love, take a pic, and upload it on the campaign’s Facebook site to stand a chance to win a R10 000 experience of their choice. Go on and share your own story on Facebook.

H&S Foundation: Have you always lived a healthy lifestyle and what does that entail?

Mark Pilgrim: Ever since recovering from testicular cancer at the age of 18 I have been health conscious. I go to gym and exercise about four times a week and watch what I eat. I make sure I eat very lean foods and try and eat smaller meals about five times a day.

H&S Foundation: It is difficult to live a healthy lifestyle - what kind of advice would you give people who are looking to change the way they live, but don’t know where to start?

Mark: There is always an excuse why one can't find the time to do something, but if the motivation is there you CAN do it. Eating well is about making sure you buy the leaner option when faced with two choices. It's about having "healthy" nibbles at home so when you feel peckish you don't tuck into a packet of chips. It's about making enough dinner that you can have the leftovers for lunch the next day so you are not worrying about food. Just start with the little things.

H&S Foundation: Why do you support this campaign?

Mark: The "I Love This" campaign is vital in creating awareness of heart disease. Why wait for a sudden heart attack and possibly die, when you can prevent it from happening in the first place.

H&S Foundation: Do you have a message to South Africans about the importance of living healthy lives?

Mark: People always think that ill-health won't happen to them. But I am living proof that as a healthy fit man, it can happen to anyone. I had a heart attack in 2008 and survived because I happened to be in my doctor's office when it happened. Appreciate what you have. Appreciate your family and loved ones. Appreciate your heart.

Heart Foundation press release

- (Health24, March 2011)

Read more:

A Pilgrim for health
Heart attack: warning signs
Diet solutions for heart disease

Visit Health24's Heart Health Centre

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