JULIE Fearn was 45 when her life changed.

She had been suffering with chest pains for some time, but only remembered to mention it to her doctor during an appointment for niggling neckache.

"I just kind of threw a remark about it over my shoulder as I was walking out the door," said the careers advisor. "I didn't think it would be an issue at all."

But her doctor was so alarmed she sent Julie straight to the hospital for tests. A cardiologist diagnosed a blocked artery and six months later, Julie underwent a heart bypass.

Now she takes five different types of medication a day, and could face more surgery to treat other arteries.

"At the time I was really scared and I honestly didn't think I'd be here to see my daughter Janine get married," said Julie, now 48.

"I was trying to get a qualification at work that would change my life and career, but I had to stop that.

"It was absolutely dreadful, my life stood still, but I've learned now that every second is precious and to live life to the full.

"I've now completed my qualification and I'm very proud of myself."

As Julie's uncle had died after a heart attack, aged 48, her mother died following a quadruple heart bypass and her granddad also died of a heart attack, the odds looked stacked against her.

Far from being defeated, Julie is now training to run two miles for the British Heart Foundation's (BHF) Heart Of York Jog to fund vital heart research.

She will be joined by her family and about 400 other people, running around the city on Tuesday, April 12.

Last year, 200 runners raised £8,000 for the UK's heart charities.

Organisers hope to double that this year, and encourage people to start taking regular exercise to protect their heart.

Julie, of Selby, said: "Raising money for the BHF is really important as it helps fund research that can help stop cases of hereditary heart disease such as mine.

"I didn't have enough knowledge about heart disease when I had my episode, and it's very important to raise awareness."

To register, phone the British Heart Foundation event team on 01937 835 421, email region1events@bhf.org.uk or visit bhf.org.uk for further details.

You will receive a complimentary day pass to Courtney's at Water World, Monks Cross, and the first 50 entrants will receive an event T-shirt.

Updated: 11:18 Friday, March 25, 2005