Seen here posing with medals received at a Masters swim gala hosted at the London Aquatics Centre in June 2023 by a club he helped to set up 30 years earlier. This marked a return to competitive sport after 5 years’ absence following an incidental diagnosis of aortic dilation – and advice to stop competing – when he volunteered, as a keen amateur triathlete, for a BHF-funded sports cardiology study and had his first transthoracic echocardiogram, CT angiogram and cardiac MRI.
Since then, he has been on a learning curve about aortic disease and cardiac imaging, volunteering with Aortic Dissection Awareness UK & Ireland, with echoes of his previous involvement in 1980s and 1990s community responses to HIV.
Julian believes this time round, there’s a ‘lethal but indolent’ disease that is ‘rare’ and with a lot of uncertainties attached to it, and the only way to get answers would seem to be through collecting data – very big data – from large populations. He think’s HDR UK is well placed to create the systems that will be needed to enable a wide range of vital cardiovascular research projects and public participation is an essential part of enabling this to happen.