Aidan’s story

Aidan received a heart transplant at Royal Papworth in 2014 and not long after signed up to the British Transplant Games. Aidan has represented Royal Papworth three times and won the Under 30’s Road Race and Time Trial, along with two bronze medals in the 100m breaststroke and freestyle in 2017. This year Aidan will compete in the 5km Time Trial and 10km road race.

Aidan explained:

“I was a generic invincible 20 year old guy without a care in the world. I was an arborist, so I worked long days, but I got to climb trees and play with toys like a big kid. I went on lots of cycle touring holidays and rode my bike everywhere. I just had this persistent cough.

“I think my experience differs from those who had a gradual decline in health and from those who had always known reduced heart function. For me the effect of getting ill and being transplanted was very sudden and a complete shock.”

Aidan was initially put on Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVADS), a pump that is surgically implanted and used for patients who have reached the end-stage of heart failure, in hopes to allow his heart to recover enough to be placed on the transplant waiting list. However, whilst operating, it was decided that Aidan needed Biventricular Assist Device (BIVADS), a similar implant but designed to help your heart function better when both sides of your heart are failing. Due to bleeding complications, Aidan had to be kept asleep for a few days, during which, a donor match was found, resulting in him having a full heart transplant.

“Royal Papworth is incredible; it’s the warmest, kindest, most secure place. During my stay the staff even helped me celebrate my birthday with tea and cake.  

“Honestly though I struggled initially post-transplant and the physical change shook me”.

This year the British Transplant Games will be held in Newport, Wales from the 25-28th July and will include our biggest team yet. 40 athletes will be competing in 25 sporting events along with more than 900 Transplant athletes. The Games aim to raise awareness of the need for organ donation, encourage transplant recipients to lead active lifestyles and to show appreciation for donors and their families.

Aidan said:

“The British Transplant Games offer a fun, welcoming and emotional atmosphere. It was a great source of comfort, support and motivation during my recovery. Cycling has been as vital for my mental health as it has my physical. To go on and win the Under 30’s Road Race and Time Trial in 2017 was amazing. I wasn’t expecting it, I didn’t realise just how hard I could push myself. I also had the best steak and chips of my life after that race.

“The thing about the Games is you don’t have to be super sporty or competitive to get something out of it. There’s an event for everyone, all levels, ages and abilities. People cheer as hard for the last person over the line as the first, and the community is indescribable. I’d encourage everyone to do it once.”

“The Games are a great talking point in terms of organ donation awareness. It’s also an opportunity for transplant recipients to come together in a social, sporting and supportive environment like no other. For me it’s an opportunity to see what I can do and I do it holding the memory of my donor at the forefront of my mind.”

Aidan is currently raising funds to support his expenses associated with being invited to the World Transplant Games in August. So please support the incredible and inspiring goals of one of Royal Papworth Charity’s transplant recipients.

You can also follow and keep up to date with Aidan’s training and travels by following him on Instagram @aidanjfallon