John o Groats

Before transplant, I had the usual timescales of getting over bugs. We have NHS websites offering help regarding this so as to not clog up doctors surgeries. Most sites have said three weeks maximum for a meaty cough – then see a doctor afterwards.

Post transplant, recovery seems to be in slow motion. When people ask how I am, I can only say “the same, maybe a bit better” because there is little difference from day to day. It is a painfully slow process. I am eating fruit and healthy meals, drinking plenty of water and sleeping a lot but none of those will be a miraculous cure.

I am frustrated but I am using this time to take stock. (Not gravy…or shoplifting)

It has been incredible that I have managed to get to John o Groats by myself. No entourage, no massage or ice baths, no nutritional experts or psychologists. These ‘celeb’ challenges make me laugh now. I am funding this, organising it, finding accommodation, organising walkers, meeting press, maintaining a website, tweeting and facebooking each day as well as walking 15 miles a day.

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Having said that, these 4 lovely people are looking out for me, promoting me and are as near to an “official” backup team as I have.
Marc Shaw – BHF Fundraising Manager (East)
Amelia Komor – BHF Communications Co-ordinator
Dr Sonia Babu-Narayan – Keeper of my old heart
Rachel Sacks – BHF Research Communications Officer

Seeing this pic when I was very poorly last week was a huge tonic. They are fantastic people and they smile like that all the time!!! (Ahem) I guess everyone reading this, posting messages on FB and Twitter are my backup team too. You all help. Thank you 🙂

I am extremely proud of what I have achieved and will continue to fight bugs and weather till I finish…whenever that may be.

To be honest, moving away from commercialism, corporations and capitalism and making a very simple life for myself has been the most refreshing part of this walk. I have met many like minded people – all kind, generous and willing to give up time for others. I want to hug them all. Some have brought a tear to my eye.

We have all met someone who will spend all of the ‘conversation’ talking about themselves, their possessions, their life. When this happens I find it astounding that two humans can be talking to each other, but only one of them is listening.
How did we get to a stage where material things define ourselves, our lives? We learn nothing from this type person and they learn nothing about us. What a waste.

I believe in a caring society, not a greedy one, I always have done. My mum was a nurse for the NHS for 40years whilst bringing up 5 children single handedly. She cared for others her whole life.

Why is it that people are motivated by buying, buying buying? We are conditioned. Step away from commercialism as I have done and you see beautiful, selfless, kind people.


I managed to get up to John o Groats on Thursday. I was met by Simon Gillespie, the CEO of the British Heart Foundation, who had kindly flown up to meet me. What did we do first? Ice cream!! Then photos at the famous board. I wanted to go to Duncansby Head which is about 2 miles from John o Groats itself so we walked there; my first real walk for a few days. I was shattered but happy to reach the most North Easterly point on the mainland. It was a blustery walk but with bright sunshine – a real bonus.

So, my plan is to take more time to rest. I still have a meaty cough, the cold has virtually gone but my physical strength will take some time to get back.
I may be back by the end of the month but I have no crystal ball.

Rest assured, I will look after myself and the precious gift I have been given.
Kieran Beardy McKiltface xx

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