On Monday 31st July, I celebrated my 8th heart rebirthday with a 12mile walk – just for fun.
I was thinking about all my 8 rebirthday celebrations and quite a few have been to go on a long walk or a fast run. I think of my donor all day long, her family and what I have done with my very special gift.
My 8th year has been incredible, visiting my old heart, meeting my TGA/Transplant Twin from NZ, Stuart Watson, two perfect transplant checkups, then the small matter of planning and walking 1400 coastal miles in all weathers. I am already looking forward to my 9th rebirthday where I will look back and say “I have walked around the whole coastline of mainland Britain”
OK, I am getting ahead of myself but I am now very confident that I can complete this and I can’t wait to write to my donors family to tell them. I am sure their reaction will be the same as most people I meet – ‘bloody nutcase’
My mini break included volunteering for the BHF at the Brentwood Festival. We had several stands there and it was so good to meet other volunteers and BHF staff. I was let loose on the main stage to talk about my heart and how the BHF research has helped me. Status Quo were headlining on Saturday evening and whilst I was backstage waiting to go on, Francis Rossi walked passed and I managed to grab a photo with the mad man. Yes, he is quite mad and very funny. (pic with Joanne Howe)
Before my talk to the crowd, they played the BHF video of me meeting my old heart. If you haven’t seen it, here is a link.
It was so strange hearing my voice but even stranger watching the crowd’s reaction when my heart is brought out for me to see. After the video was shown I was invited onto the stage to a nice round of applause.
“HELLO…..GLASTONBURY” I shouted as I grabbed the microphone. There was drunken cheering and laughter. I had an easy crowd. I explained that a friend dared me to do it and would give £10 to the BHF if I succeeded. Never dare me to do anything where showing off is involved. I can’t resist.
I was tempted to come onstage after the video showing and say “So, now you have all seen my organ…”
So with the crowd warmed up, I briefly told my heart history and got a lovely reception especially when I said I had ran the London Marathon. Maybe word had got out that I had my ukulele in my rucksack and they were just glad I didn’t bring it on stage. The crowd were great and with my 15 minutes of ZZZ list celebrity status finished I went back to the BHF tents. I was quite overwhelmed for the rest of the day that so many people came up to me and shook my hand.
“I fink yur fabulous”, they slurred holding their drinks. “Really FFF FFF Fablas”
“Thank you. I think you are fablas too” I would reply soberly.
“No but seriously man, did I tell you? Yooo rrr F***** fablas. F***** fablas”
And so it went on. The men were even worse.
On the Sunday of the festival, my fablasness was old news and I spent some of the day as Hearty. This was a first for me. Obviously I wear red tights all the time before but the heart costume and the one size fits all boots were quite an experience. I had a two year old girl follow me around the field for a long while until she finally plucked up courage to give me a high five. I lowered my hand, she stretched out as high as she could – we high fived. Then she fell over and started to cry. I felt helpless and feared that any sudden movement to comfort her might make the whole situation worse so I just stood there with my huge hand over my huge smile. I was glad my face was hidden.
We raised lots of money and personally for me, it was great to talk to two congenital heart patients and many other people who had had heart attacks, bypasses and other heart related troubles. It was a great way to spend the weekend and we stopped in time to watch Status Quo.
I am writing this blog having endured 9.5 hours on a night bus (sleep deprevation bus) from London to Dumfries. I think I fell asleep around Preston for an hour but can’t be sure. I am hoping this blog makes sense. Two minutes after getting off the bus I found Robert the Bruce pub. Well, that seemed a perfect place to write.
I will be sleeping the rest of the day no doubt but I wanted to get a blog in before I set off again tomorrow. August will bring me another 300 miles down the South West of Scotland and then back into England.
The beard is still a contentious issue. I had no idea my vision to be Forrest Gump at the end of this walk would be so popular and that the two times I have shaved since February have left me feeling guilty. Maybe the beard growing and shaving is representative of the highs and lows of the walk. There. That might please everyone. Sorry beard fans.
So I am shaved and ready to go. Now that’s something I have never said before!!
Kieran Shavey McShavedagainFace