A WOMAN who was born with her heart on the wrong side of her body has taken part in a gruelling charity challenge,

Emily Blackburn, of Chesham, was born with dextrocardia, a rare heart condition in which your heart points toward the right side of your chest instead of the left.

The 31-year-old endured three major operations as a child, with the condition causing a variety of symptoms including breathing difficulties, blue lips and skin, and fatigue.

But despite her health issues, Emily has now cycled 25 miles in her living room in aid of Lagan’s Foundation, which goes into the homes of severely ill children and offers their families respite support.

“My parents and particularly my sister would have really benefitted from an organisation like Lagan’s when I was growing up,” said the apprenticeship placement consultant. “I used to think my younger sister was so lucky, but she thought I got all the attention, and she was the one who had to see me in hospital with wires coming out of me, when she could have spent quality time with mum and dad.

“I was diagnosed when I was four months old after nearly choking. I was driven to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, surrounded by a police escort, because there was a strike going on. People think that heart problems are confined to older people, but they are not.”

With Covid-19 putting a halt to the charity’s annual April Cycle Challenge – which has seen top UK riders and Iron Man contenders traverse a challenging course across Lancashire – Lagan’s introduced a virtual event for 2021.

Although Emily’s doctor had to warn her to take it easy, she completed 25 miles in 70 minutes, raising over £200 so far and winning praise from Langan Foundation’s founder, Carren Bell.

Carren said: “Emily’s tenacity means that she has enjoyed a university education, is married and has a job. She is literally living proof that you can live a happy successful life with a heart condition.

“Emily is the model all of our children can follow and is such an encouragement to our parents. We are so very proud of her.”

Emily added: “If I can help anyone through the kind of struggles I have had, it will be worth it. You can still achieve with a heart condition and life has got to be enjoyed.”