Former heart patient to run in the Dubai marathon




Dubai: After five coronary bypass grafts carried out two months ago, Filipino Alfonso Ponio is participating in the Dubai marathon on Friday, January 23. He will be running a stretch of 10km at the marathon.

“I registered because I feel young again. I have a brand new heart. I want to tell people that with correct surgery, good diet and strong determination anything is possible,” said Ponio, 48, a driver in a local organisation who could not even walk a stretch of 50 metres without feeling a shooting pain in his heart prior to the surgery which was conducted at the NMC Speciality Hospital on November 12 last year. He cleared a treadmill test with flying colours two days ago and registered for the marathon.

Ponio, who wasn’t obese, feels the condition is hereditary as his father, too, suffered from heart disease. His family referred him to coronary surgeon Dr Girish Chandra Varma at the hospital.

Ponio has been very determined to reclaim his health and has been on a diet comprising plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, a little rice and fish or chicken cooked in light olive oil. “When they discharged me nine days after the surgery, my pain had gone. I walked out of the hospital and began my walking and running soon after. I built up my stamina to run up to 30km and I feel no pain at all. I am absolutely delighted with this gift of life and am determined to be serious about my health from now on,” says Ponio, who wants to advise people to give up the fear of sickness and opt for surgery if required and reclaim one’s health

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