Kirean Sandwell, who will walk the British coast to raise funds for the heart charity

Kirean Sandwell, who will walk the British coast to raise funds for the heart charity

A man who was given a new lease of life after a heart transplant is planning to walk around Britain’s coast to raise cash for charity.

Kieran Sandwell will undertake his Trail of Two Hearts for the British Heart Foundation.

The 45-year-old, from Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire, has had a long battle with heart disease and finally had to have a transplant eight years ago.

He has set himself a target of raising £100,000 for the charity during his 5,000-mile walk, which he estimates will take more than 10 months.

Mr Sandwell’s walk will begin at the British Heart Foundation’s head office in Mornington Crescent, London, on Wednesday 1 February and he will walk anti-clockwise around the coast. On his journey, he will be met and supported by BHF-funded researchers from across the UK, fundraising groups and branches and shop staff and volunteers.

Mr Sandwell was born with the congenital heart condition transposition of the great arteries, where the main arteries in the heart are ‘plumbed’ back to front. He had to have open-heart surgery at just three years old to swap the arteries back to their normal position.

Despite having a normal childhood, when he was 13 he began experiencing pain in his arms and tightness in his chest and at hospital doctors confirmed he’d had a heart attack. During his early 20s Mr Sandwell also suffered two mini-strokes and began having abnormal heart rhythms called arrhythmias, which contributed to the development of heart failure.

The walker first came into contact with the BHF when he agreed to take part in a study on arrhythmias but by the time he reached 35, he was in end-stage heart failure and was put on the transplant list for a new heart.

In July 2009, Mr Sandwell 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.

He plans to walk an average of 15 miles a day during his coast walk.

Mr Sandwell said: “The inspiration for my challenge 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 and 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.”

He is calling on the public to support him on his journey by donating to help save more lives by visiting his website, which details his planned walk and where donations can be made.

Janet Woodall, fundraising manager at the BHF, 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.

“Every three minutes someone loses their life to heart and circulatory disease, which devastates the lives of those they leave behind. We urgently need more people to join our fight for every heartbeat and help fund our life saving research, so if Kieran has inspired you please do help power his steps and donate.”

Some articles the site thinks might be related:

  1. Red Cross seeks hillwalkers for charity Snowdon trek
  2. Firefighter Ricky Lightfoot to lead trailblazing charity team in Bob Graham relay
  3. Four young Scafell Pike charity walkers spark ‘avoidable’ rescue in wild weather