Parallel Hearts

The ground-breaking project that draws parallels between hearts across the community, inspiring people impacted by heart failure to do more.

What is Parallel Hearts?

Heart failure is a serious and life-threatening condition and the journey to diagnosis is full of ups and downs. Unfortunately, many people in the UK are not aware of what heart failure is and how it affects people and their loved ones. We want to change this.

Parallel Hearts is a campaign that aims to raise awareness of heart failure and how it can impact on a person’s everyday life. We started the journey by bringing together different members of the heart failure community, including heart failure patients, their loved ones and medical professionals to climb the highest mountain in Wales, Mount Snowdon. Why? Well first things first, we don’t do things by halves here at Pumping Marvellous! But more to the point, we knew that to really make a splash and put heart failure on the agenda, we needed to do something a bit different.

This is truly a campaign designed by people with heart failure for people with heart failure.

Pumping Marvellous Foundation is here to support all those affected by heart failure in the UK through its strong network. By working with people across the whole heart failure community from family and friends, heart health specialists to those with heart failure, we aim to reach new heights for heart failure in the UK.

Meet our Marvellous 3

Parallel Hearts focusses on our “Marvellous Three” people living with heart failure, all of whom have very different experiences of living with heart failure.

Take a moment to hear more from our “Marvellous Three” and why they are involved in Parallel Hearts.

Click on Rob, Rich and Sam below to watch their short films and hear their stories.

Share our Marvellous Three stories and the Parallel Hearts campaign on social media using #parallelhearts and #reach4HF.

Reaching New Heights

As part of the Parallel Hearts campaign, we will reach new heights for heart failure. This started by challenging the fit and healthy friends and family of our Marvellous Three to a gruelling climb to the top of Mount Snowdon last year on the 30 September 2017, while our Marvellous Three watched on in support from a safe location.

The reason for choosing Mount Snowdon for our challenge was to demonstrate what living with the symptoms of heart failure feels like every day and how tough people with heart failure are, as they fight the exhaustion, breathlessness and anxiety that comes with heart failure. Breathlessness is a key symptom and when you have heart failure it feels like you are breathing through a narrow straw.

And we didn’t stop there! Our intrepid challengers were filmed throughout the challenge on Mount Snowdon. We wanted to draw a parallel between healthy hearts undertaking extreme physical activity and hearts that struggle to pump enough blood around the body. This demonstrates that being a person with heart failure can feel like the type of total body fatigue you get after extreme exercise.

Heart Failure Awareness

There are around 920,000 people living with heart failure in the UK. Heart failure is debilitating and outcomes are poor: 5 year survival rate is worse than breast or prostate cancer (1); 30-40% of those diagnosed with heart failure die within the first year. Heart failure is a major cost to the NHS. It is a leading cause of hospital admission in over 65s (2) and is one of five long-term conditions responsible for 75% of unplanned hospital admissions.(3) Costs are growing. Hospital admissions for heart failure are projected to rise by 50% within 25 years due to an ageing population.(4)

No one likes the word failure. The Pumping Marvellous Foundation was started with the mantra to be positive around heart failure so let’s start by saying that you are not a failure. If you have been told you have heart failure, then it means that your heart is failing to pump as efficiently as it should, in order to supply the body with the oxygen and nutrients that it needs. You may hear technical terms to describe this as heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFREF). There is another less common type of heart failure whereby the heart fails to relax and fill efficiently called heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFPEF). The question to ask to your Doctor or Nurse is, “Why is my heart not working efficiently?”

Generally, there is a reason why the heart is not pumping correctly. The most common reason is that the heart muscle has been damaged by a poor blood supply such as after a heart attack. Other causes include;

  • High blood pressure
  • A virus that has affected the muscle of the heart
  • As a result of the heart’s rhythm being abnormal for example, atrial fibrillation
  • A genetic condition which may have affected the muscle of the heart as in Cardiomyopathy
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • The valves of the heart are damaged
  • Some types of chemotherapy
  • In rare cases a form of heart failure in pregnancy or just after delivery called Peripartum Cardiomyopathy.

On very rare occasions we are simply unsure of the cause.

Treatment will consist of therapy in order to correct or modify the underlying causes of your heart failure as well as improve the efficiency of your heart.

Many may be struggling with other conditions such as low vitamin and iron levels which make life with heart failure even tougher. It is thought that iron deficiency, which affects up to 50% of patients with heart failure, is particularly bad as iron is essential for a healthy heart and body, and not having enough iron can lead to increased anxiety, fatigue and even food cravings.

Learn more about iron deficiency in heart failure here

(1) Stewart et al. Population impact of heart failure and the most common forms of cancer. Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. 2010. Available at: [Accessed July 2016]

(2) NICE. Acute heart failure: diagnosing and managing acute heart failure in adults. October 2014. Available at:

(3) NHS England. Emergency admissions for Ambulatory Care Sensitive Conditions – characteristics and trends at national level. March 2014. Available online at: [Accessed July 2016]

(4) NICE. Chronic heart failure: Management of chronic heart failure in adults in primary and secondary care. August 2010. Available at:

Parallel Heart Resources

Being aware of heart failure and its symptoms is important. Heart failure and the reasons why you get heart failure are ageless. It affects many different people across all age ranges. To learn more about heart failure, continue reading the website.

If you know someone with heart failure give them a gift and tell them about the Pumping Marvellous Foundation. Telling them about the support available is important.


Help heart failure patients live better


Heart failure patients suffer from fatigue and breathlessness every day, sometimes even at rest, as their hearts need to work harder to fulfil the body’s requirements. But improved self-monitoring in partnership with healthcare teams, and positive support can improve patient’s quality of life. The Parallel Hearts Appeal hopes to help and encourage patients and their support networks be the best they can be!

The Pumping Marvellous Foundation supplies our “Marvellous Guides” to over 150 heart failure teams across the UK and demand is growing. These guides are full of rich information for patients which help people live better with heart failure. They are funded by people like you. With generous donations, we can keep supplying heart failure teams with these invaluable “Marvellous Guides” to help them self-manage and take control of their heart failure. See our “Marvellous Guides” as downloadable pdf’s

To make a donation to the charity and our “Parallel Hearts Campaign” please visit our “Just Giving Campaign page

Thank you for your kind and generous support, we couldn’t do it without you.

Nick Hartshorne-Evans
Founder of the Pumping Marvellous Foundation

Secret sauce

Dictionary – “A special quality or feature regarded as the chief factor in the success of something or someone.”

So, what’s your “Secret Sauce?” What makes you tick?

At Pumping Marvellous, we know it takes some real inner drive to live well with heart failure. Pumping Marvellous are Secret Sauce catalysts; we draw out people’s inner Secret Sauce, people’s superpowers and enable other people to learn from other people’s experiences.

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About us

Who, What, Why?

We are the Pumping Marvellous Foundation, the UK’s heart failure patient-led charity. Find out more about why we do what we do.
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Get involved

The Pumping Marvellous Foundation are a UK patient led heart failure charity. To find out how you can get involved click below.
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The Pumping Marvellous charity shop is full of our own branded merchandise. By purchasing our merchandise, you will help us fund our projects.
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