Heart transplant man’s year-long walking mission

Kieran Sandwell

Kieran Sandwell

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A Hemel Hempstead man who had a life-saving heart transplant seven years ago is embarking on a year-long walk in aid of the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

Kieran Sandwell, aged 46, is setting off today, Wednesday, to walk 5,000 miles anti-clockwise around the entire coast of Britain.

Kieran, who is a computer analyst, was born with a heart defect called transposition of the great arteries (TGA) and had open heart surgery at the age of three. At 13, he suffered a heart attack, and at 21 he suffered mini strokes. He was fitted with an internal defibrillator at the age of 35.

Due to the severity of his condition, Kieran was put on the list for a heart transplant in 2008. And exactly a year later, at the age of 38, Kieran received the call to attend Papworth Hospital for the long-awaited surgery.

The transplant has completely changed Kieran’s life. Before the operation, he was permanently exhausted and would have to sit down to get his breath back after having a shower. Six weeks after the op, he was able to dance the night away at a friend’s party.

As his fitness increased, he began running, and has since completed the London Marathon twice.

He wrote to the family of his heart donor, a woman in her 50s, to express his gratitude. He has also donated his old heart for medical research by BHF-funded researcher Dr Sonya Babu-Narayan.

Kieran will be blogging on his journey at https://atrailoftwohearts.com/blog

Visit his fundraising page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ATrailofTwoHearts