Strictly Come Dancing star Gemma Atkinson was praised by fans on Tuesday for making the courageous decision to get a full heart MOT after tragically losing her father at the age of 17 to heart disease.
The doting new mother, who shares daughter Mia with her fiancé and fellow Strictly pro Gorka Marquez, took to Instagram to reveal she had taken the leap to discover the truth about her heart health after "putting it off for almost 20 years".
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The star, who often opens up about her heartbreaking grief on social media, told fans: "Today’s the day. After putting it off for almost 20 years (mainly in fear of finding something wrong) I’ve decided to have a full heart MOT. I think my dad would be pleased I’m finally doing it, and being a parent myself I kinda feel I have even more of that responsibility."
Gemma, who is concerned about her daughter's future, wrote: "I’d hate for Mia to go through what I went through age 17. With what’s happened of late it’s proof that just because we can look fit and healthy, it isn’t always the case that our hearts are functioning correctly. I’m excited but also nervous of what the outcome will be as I’ve always wondered if heart disease is hereditary."
Gemma revealed she would 'hate' for daughter Mia to lose her
The star went on to explain to fans: "I hope this encourages other people to get their checkups and not be afraid."
Fans rushed to the comments to show their support for the 36-year-old, with one writing: " Good luck Gemma. Good on you for raising awareness of such an important issue too," whilst another agreed: "Well done for highlighting that this is even something you can get done, I didn’t know!"
Gemma lost her dad to a heart attack when she was just 17
A third fan was in agreement that more awareness is needed, sharing their own tragedy: "I’d love to get this done but didn’t realise I could or that it was available. My own dad passed away when I was 13 and worry about my boys having to go through it."
Gemma is typically an incredibly fit and healthy individual, often posting her home workouts to Instagram and sharing her favourite fitness tips – but still encouraged her fans to seek medical advice if they have health concerns.
Gemma will reveal all from her tests and results on Channel 4's Steph's Packed Lunch this Friday at 12.30pm.
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