Heart transplant patient visits Southwold and Lowestoft as part of 5,000-mile trek to fund life-saving research
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A heart transplant patient has visited the Suffolk coast as part of a 5,000-mile trek around Britain to raise £100,000 for life-saving research.
Kieran Sandwell, 45, from Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire, started his 'Trail of Two Hearts' in London on February 1.
It marks the end of his long battle with heart disease after having a heart transplant eight years ago.
In the past 17 days he has walked along the coast through Essex and Suffolk, arriving in Southwold last night before setting off from Lowestoft this morning.
He said: 'The first week was really tough because I didn't realise the weight of my rucksack. I had done a lot of training but I was unwell just before Christmas and that scuppered me a bit.
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'But I'm just gritting my teeth and getting on with it.
'The scenery in this area is so beautiful and I've been through some lovely little villages on the way.'
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Mr Sandwell's battle with heart disease began when he was three. He had 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.
When he was 13 he suffered a heart attack and during his early twenties he suffered two mini strokes and began having abnormal heart rhythms. By the time he reached 35, he was in heart failure and was put on the transplant list.
In July 2009, Mr Sandwell received his new heart and donated his old heart for British Heart Foundation-funded research into congenital heart disease. And funds raised from his trek will help the charity fund even more life-saving research.
He said: 'It's incredible I am able to do this. It is like I have had two lives because I know what it's like to live with heart disease and the transplant has allowed me to give something back.'
Mr Sandwell will be walking for 326 days. He is now heading up to Norfolk and hopes to be in Scotland by May.
He is staying in B&Bs, camping, and couch surfing along the way.
To donate and keep up-to-date on his journey, visit www.atrailoftwohearts.com