Heart transplant patient Kieran Sandwell got a warm welcome in Cromer and Happisburgh as he stopped off during his 5,000-mile trek around Britain to help raise £100,000 for the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) life saving research.
Kieran, 45, from Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire, is currently walking the Norfolk Coast Path in his challenge Trail of Two Hearts to mark the end of his long battle with heart disease after having a heart transplant eight years ago.
After setting off on February 1 from the British Heart Foundation office in London, Kieran’s journey has seen him walking the coast of Norfolk, with members of the public supporting him on his journey to help him raise his target. This included a fundraising quiz organised by Ginny Wilson-North, from MargGins Walking and Glamping, at the home of Tessa and Terry Beane in Happisburgh on Saturday night when £100 was raised and being greeted by Walkers are Welcome members and the deputy mayor in Cromer yesterday.
He said: “The inspiration 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.”
Kieran’s battle with heart disease began when he was just three years old, when he had to have open heart surgery to correct a condition called transposition of the great arteries (TGA) where the main arteries in the heart are ‘plumbed’ back to front.
Then when Kieran was 13 he suffered a heart attack and during his early twenties he also suffered two mini strokes and began having abnormal heart rhythms. By the time he reached 35, he was in heart failure and he 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.
Dawne Hart, BHF Fundraising Manager for Norfolk, 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.”
To support Kieran on his journey and find out how you can get involved or to sponsor him visit www.atrailoftwohearts.com
Also follow his journey and get in touch at