Download the Ben McDonald fundraising pack here

12 people under the age of 35 die suddenly and unexpectedly every week in the UK from an undiagnosed heart condition that could have been picked up with a heart screening.

Please help us to reduce these statistics by taking part in the Half4Hearts challenge in memory of Ben McDonald.

The Cardiff Half Marathon was scheduled to go ahead on 3rd October 2021. However, it has unfortunately been cancelled because of social restrictions. Calon Heart would love for as many people as possible to take part in their own run this October in memory of Ben McDonald. Ben tragically lost his life at the finish line after competing in the Cardiff Half Marathon in October 2018, when he was just 25 years old. Ben’s mum, Ruth, wants to get as many hearts screened as possible so heart abnormalities are more likely to be detected and treated, to decrease the risk of cardiac arrest.



Create your own JustGiving page here or fundraising page so all your friends, family and colleagues can support you.

Set your fundraising target, there’s no minimum sponsorship, but a target of £85 or more is a great place to start as this will pay for 1 screening session for someone aged 8 to 45 years.

Wear yellow on 7th October - the day ben tragically died - to remember him. 

Remember to share your posts and photos on social media and tag us @CalonDefibs and #Half4Hearts #BenMcDonald #Run4Ben

You can run, jog or walk anytime in October. Our team will be completing the challenge on October 3rd, which was the date of the Cardiff Half Marathon before it was cancelled. You may also choose to do this challenge on October or the 7th, as that's the date Ben McDonald completed his marathon before suffering a fatal cardiac arrest.

See our Charity founder, Sharon Owen, talk about the impact the cancellation of the Cardiff marathon for two years has had on small charities:




The Ben Mcdonald Heart Screening Fund for Wales was set up in August 2019 to work towards screening young hearts in wales, so that no young person dies of an undiagnosed heart condition. the fund is working towards a total of £1,00,000 so we can screen as many young people in Wales as possible.

Links to Ben's News Stories:


BBC - Cardiff Half Marathon death: Family's hope for more defibrillators


Wales Online - Two runners who died after finishing the Cardiff Half Marathon 


The One Moment - Ruth McDonalds Blog (Ben's Mum)



Chris’s story 

Many lives have been saved already by our heart screenings, more recently we screened a young man who is now an ambassador of The Ben McDonald Heart Screening for Wales Fund, Chris Morse who was found to have a heart condition. 

Chris Morse, a personal trainer from Carmarthen, said: “I’m a frequent gym-goer with no history of any heart-related problems within my family.

I attended a Calon Hearts screening at David Lloyd gym in Cardiff on April 13th 2019, just under two weeks before my 33rd birthday. I hadn’t previously suffered from any heart-related problems and thought I was in good physical health. I would never have even contemplated going for a heart check-up had I not been at the gym the day of the Welsh Hearts screening clinic.”

After undergoing an ECG and follow up echocardiogram scan at the clinic, cardiologists were able to diagnose Chris with a large aortic aneurysm, bicuspid aortic valve and a severely enlarged left ventricle. He was admitted into the University Hospital Wales immediately, where he then underwent open-heart surgery.

Chris adds: “Thankfully the surgery was a success, and six months on, I am back to full health and feeling great. My parents and brother received follow up checks which thankfully came back all clear with no issues. My advice to anyone reading this would be to get yourself down to a Calon Hearts screening clinic and get yourself examined. It will take a matter of minutes and could undoubtedly save your life, as I am sure it did for me.”

Calon Hearts Charity Director Sharon Owen said: “So many heart conditions go undetected in young people because they’re seemingly fit and healthy. To know that our heart screening initiative has picked up conditions that would have turned out to be fatal really emphasises the importance of heart screening because it could have been a very different story if Chris hadn’t been at the gym on that day. We echo Chris’ message that everyone aged 8-45 should get themselves screened. It’s a simple test that really could save your life.” 



Read more Calon Hearts lifesaving stories like Lorraine's storyBecky's storyAmanda's story and Leigh's Story


You can keep in touch about upcoming screenings here, you can subscribe to our screenings mailing list here.