The heart trail is a self-imposed challenge set by the recipient of a life-changing gift: a heart. Over a weekend in January 2019, James Sheppard and a group of his closest friends and family will set out to ride the 200km Silo Art Trail in rural Victoria. The purpose? To show that organ donation can be absolutely life-changing.Join the donor register today
In the space of a three year period James went from being relatively healthy to losing a third of his body weight, being unable to walk and reliant on a wheelchair. After several months in several hospitals across Melbourne, was diagnosed with Cardiomyopathy and was put on the heart transplant waiting list. Doctors had some dire warnings:
“There is a chance you will die before a heart becomes available.”
8 months later the phone rang. James had one hour to be at the Alfred hospital. They had a heart for him. After a week in ICU and another week on the ward James was sent home.
* Source: donatelife.gov.au and transplant.org.au
Physios advised James that he needed to find a hobby that would keep him fit and healthy, and cycling was it. He now has a new lease on life, allowing him to stay fit and active, enjoy time with family and friends, and look forward to the future.
“He was lucky that a heart became available in time, but others in Australia are often not so lucky.”
Heart trail aims to better the odds for those that are waiting. We hope to start the conversation for people to discuss their preferences with their loved ones and to hopefully decide to register.
Register today, but registering is just the beginning. Discussing your organ donation preferences with loved ones is equally important as they will have the final say.Join the donor register today
Acknowledging DonateLife's Thank You Day which honours all organ and tissue donors and their families.
James tackled around the bay this October and he spoke to 3AW about the experience.
Bicycle Network spoke to James about partaking in their annual United Energy Around the Bay ride.