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Trail of two hearts: Heart transplant patient takes on the coastline of Britain

Posted: Mon, 30 Jan 2017 15:51

Trail of two hearts: Heart transplant patient takes on the coastline of Britain

Walking all over heart disease to raise money for the life saving research.


A heart transplant patient is taking on the ultimate challenge by walking 5,000 miles around the coastline of Britain to raise money for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to help fund life saving research.

Kieran Sandwell, 45 from Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire decided to take on a "Trail of Two Hearts" to mark the end of his long battle with heart disease after having a heart transplant eight years ago.

Kieran was born with a congenital heart condition called transposition of the great arteries (TGA) where the main arteries in the heart are 'plumbed' back to front. He had to have open heart surgery at just three years old to swap the arteries back to their normal position.

Despite having a normal childhood, when Kieran was 13 he began experiencing pain in his arms and tightness in his chest and at hospital doctors confirmed he'd had a heart attack. During his early twenties Kieran also suffered two mini strokes and began having abnormal heart rhythms called arrhythmias, which contributed to the development of heart failure.

Kieran first came into contact with the BHF when he agreed to take part in a study on arrhythmias but by the time he reached 35, he was in end-stage heart failure and was put on the transplant list for a new heart.

In July 2009, Kieran received his new heart and donated his old heart for BHF-funded research into congenital heart disease which has contributed to important findings and helped others living with conditions like his.

Kieran now has a new lease of life and has set himself the challenge of raising £100,000 for the BHF by walking the coast of Britain over the next year to help fund even more life saving research.

He is calling on the public to support him on his journey by donating to help save even more lives by visiting www.atrailoftwohearts.com

Speaking ahead of his challenge, Kieran said: "The inspiration for my challenge came to me around 25 years ago, but then I would never have been able to complete such an endurance challenge.

"It's only thanks to my donor, the BHF, the Brompton and Papworth Hospital and NHS Blood & Transplant that I am able to make my dream a reality.

"My second heart has enabled me to do so much and I'm urging the public to help me support the BHF's ground-breaking research by making a donation."

The Trail of Two Hearts begins from the British Heart Foundation's Head Office in Mornington Crescent on Wednesday 1 February and will walk anti-clockwise around the coast. On his journey, Kieran will be met and supported by BHF-funded researchers from across the UK, fundraising groups and branches and shop staff and volunteers.

Janet Woodall, Fundraising Manager at the BHF, said: "We never cease to be amazed by the incredible way our fundraisers raise money for our research, but Kieran's coastline challenge is one of the biggest we've ever seen.

"We are so incredibly grateful for his determination and dedication to supporting our work and we'll be supporting him every step of the way!

"Every three minutes someone loses their life to heart and circulatory disease, which devastates the lives of those they leave behind. We urgently need more people to join our fight for every heartbeat and help fund our life saving research, so if Kieran has inspired you please do help power his steps and donate!"

To support Kieran on his journey and find out how you can get involved to help save even more lives visit www.atrailoftwohearts.com

Tags: BHF, British Heart Foundation

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