Heart transplant man on round-the-coast fund-raiser

Kieran Sandwell, who owes his life to a heart transplant in 2009, is raising funds for the British Heart Foundation, by walking around the coast of the UK. He was pictured in Arbroath on April 11, 2017.
Kieran Sandwell, who owes his life to a heart transplant in 2009, is raising funds for the British Heart Foundation, by walking around the coast of the UK. He was pictured in Arbroath on April 11, 2017.

Kieran Sandwell (45), is a remarkable man. He was born with a serious heart defect; underwent open heart surgery aged three, and at 13 suffered a heart attack.

Subsequently he took a stroke, but in 2008 there came the first chink of real hope as he was placed on the heart transplant list - and a year later the life-saving operation was performed.

Kieran said: “I decided to donate my old heart for British Heart Foundation-funded research. I recently visited it to say hello!”

Now, thanking all who gave him back his life, he is doing a fund-raising walk around the UK coast to raise money for the British Heart Foundation. His target is £100,000. Contributions collected en route amount to £5100.

On Tuesday (April 11) he completed a ‘short day’, from Carnoustie to Arbroath, where this newspaper caught up with him. Kieran had by then walked for 86 days, covering 928 miles.

He calls his adventure ‘A Tale of Two Hearts’. He took the first steps on February 1, from the British Heart Foundation office in London, and since then he has not taken a day off.

Highlights have included crossing the Forth and Tay Bridges. He even praises the Scottish weather! The worst thing that has happened so far have been dogs chasing him, although he cheerfully accepted that once he encounters west coast midgies he might prefer the dogs.

Kieran is undertaking the walk entirely on his own, with no entourage. He has, however, been able to meet up with people who are glad to help and even offer a bed for the night. In Arbroath this was Taff Davies, retired 45 Commando, who has his own walk planned later in the year - in Wales.

Kieran has had sponsorship of all his walking gear from berghaus.

He continues his way north; Montrose, Inverbervie, Stonehaven and Aberdeen, from where he will continue on round the Buchan coast.

His only regret so far is that he dropped his mobile phone in the sea and has had to replace it!

Comprehensive information can be found on Kieran’s website, www.atrailoftwohearts.com

You can sponsor him either through Justgiving or by texting TOTH99 and the amount, eg £5, to 70070.

But you can help in other ways - by offering Kieran a bed for the night, or by organising a fund-raising event to coincide with his arrival in your town or village.