Big-hearted Leo is health prize nominee

Leo Quinn has been nominated for an award for his cardiac work at Ponte Hospital.

Leo Quinn has been nominated for an award for his cardiac work at Ponte Hospital.

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Leo Quinn believed he was like any other fit, active and healthy man in his sixties, when he was hospitalised with a suspected heart attack two years ago.

The unexpected “hammer blow”, as he now calls it, left him barely able to walk and only a long stint of rehabilitation treatment could put him on the road to recovery.

Now the 65-year-old from East Hardwick, gives up his time to help other heart patients to recover.

And his dedication has seen him nominated for a health ‘excellence’ award.

Mr Quinn, who was hospitalised in July 2014, said: “I thought I was reasonably fit and active until I started getting chest pains after very little exertion. I went to Pontefract A&E where a heart attack was suspected.

“Eventually I was diagnosed with three blocked arteries. I spent a week in Coronary Care at Pinderfields and when discharged couldn’t drive for four weeks and initially could only walk for a maximum five minutes at a time.”

Part of Mr Quinn’s treatment involved cardiovascular rehabilitation classes featuring light and intense exercises to get the heart beating, check-ups and talks on healthy diet.

Now Mr Quinn, a retired civilian worker with West Yorkshire Police, voluntarily gives up his time to co-ordinate the bi-weekly sessions at Pontefract Hospital, where he acts as a mentor and motivator for recovering patients.

“It is good to still take part and break into a sweat but I also enjoy taking newcomers round,” Mr Quinn said. “They see me as someone who has been through this and come out of the other side.”

Mr Quinn and the nurses and physios who run the sessions have been nominated for a Celebrating Excellence Award by Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust. The winner will be announced at a presentation at Unity Works, Wakefield on January 28.