Eric's Story Eric's Story In August 2013, Eric underwent a heart transplant at Royal Papworth Hospital and during his recovery he decided he wanted to raise funds that would give more people the second chance at life that he has been given. This year he is going for gold as Eric will be representing team Royal Papworth for the third time at the British Transplant Games. Eric will compete in the 5k, 1500 meter and 100 meter races. Eric told us why he thinks the Games are so important: “I learned about the Games while I was on the waiting list for a heart transplant, from a bulletin board in the Royal Papworth TCCU clinic. I looked at the pictures of the participants from Royal Papworth and promised myself that if I received a transplant, I’d run again -- at the Transplant Games.” “Before my diagnosis, I was in good health all my life – a dedicated runner who regularly entered 10k, half-marathon and even a couple of marathon races. But in 2011, at age 58, I suddenly didn’t have the breath to run. Within a month, climbing a flight of stairs became a challenge. It turned out that my heart muscle was disintegrating due to an unusual genetic defect. Six months later, all other medical treatment had failed and I was put on the waiting list for a new heart by Royal Papworth Hospital. Then in 2013, I received the life-saving operation.” “I am so grateful for my heart transplant, it has given me the opportunity to be very actively involved in the lives of my six grandchildren, all of whom were born since I went on the waiting list at Royal Papworth for a new heart.” “Staff at Royal Papworth encouraged my participation in the Games and I am so grateful. Last year, half-way through the 1500 metre I realised that there’d be no medal for me because I was going to be last in my age group. Yet a real glow grew inside me as I contemplated the miracle that let me run again, in a stadium full of thousands of cheering supporters, all thanks to my donor and to the expert and compassionate care I received at Royal Papworth.” “I am determined to win gold. The last three years I have won several silver and bronze medals, but the gold has always escaped me. But, of course, the most important thing about the Games is the unique opportunity to celebrate the miracle of our own organ transplant with others who have received the same second chance at life. What’s more, by promoting organ donation, the Games help ensure that more people will receive the amazing gift of life in the future.” In 2018, Eric and a team of fellow anglo-americans took on the Bryson Line Challenge and walked 569 miles, north to south, across the UK to raise incredible sums of money for five charities including Royal Papworth Charity. “I’m driven by the thought that the fundraising or awareness-raising that I do might save the life of another person. I’m very keen that others should have the same good fortune that my transplant has given me.” In recognition of Eric’s outstanding support of Royal Papworth Charity he was invited to attend the official opening of Royal Papworth Hospital by Her Majesty The Queen. “I was grateful for the invitation. I really enjoyed the opportunity to be there, to see the Queen up close, and to celebrate Royal Papworth and its new facilities. I’m sure that everyone can relate to the excitement of seeing the Queen. But beyond that, I was pleased to realise that the Queen’s willingness to come open the new Royal Papworth facility was a very strong public acknowledgement of the incredible work that the staff at Royal Papworth do every day.” After such a successful and eventful first-half of 2019, Eric’s plans do not stop and he is determined to encourage others to participate and raise money for the Royal Papworth Charity. “For me, I am motivated by the gratifying feeling that I’ve helped, even in some small way, the amazing work that Royal Papworth does to improve and save the lives of so many people. Having lost a son to cancer, I know how devastating a death in the family is – and I hope to help prevent other families from experiencing the pain of such a loss.” “If I could give any advice to aspiring fundraisers, I think it’s really helpful to remember that sponsors who make a contribution in response to an appeal for Royal Papworth inevitably feel good about themselves and what they’ve done. So fundraising is doing them a favour!” Eric and his team are currently working on a follow-up to the Bryson Line Walk, which was organised July 2018 and raised an incredible amount of money for Royal Papworth. Eric hopes to achieve and exceed this goal during his next fundraising event and looks forward to the British Transplant Games 2020.