Royal Papworth is very special to me. In January 2014 they performed a life saving, single lung transplant on my wife when she had just weeks left to live. She had suffered from lung fibrosis for fifteen years and her health gradually deteriorated over that time. In 2012 she started needing a wheelchair for the first time and in 2013 she had to go on oxygen 24 hours a day. Her consultant at our local hospital referred her to Royal Papworth around Easter 2013 and after her assessment she was put on the waiting list for a single lung. By Christmas 2013 she was only able to walk about ten metres and we prepared for the worst. Just over two weeks later she was so happy to receive the phone call about the gift of a transplant. We will always be grateful to her donor and their family.

Thanks to Royal Papworth my wife has been able to attend our daughter’s wedding and see our son leave for university. Both of these things seemed impossible just a few years ago. We both feel the years post transplant have been the best of our lives. Surviving a major illness changes your perspective on life and we enjoy each day as it comes.

Now I need to give something back, so I am raising funds for Royal Papworth Hospital Charity. Half the money I raise will go to lung transplant research and half to funding the DCD heart transplant program.

Royal Papworth History

Royal Papworth was founded in 1918 in the village of Papworth Everard as a TB sanatorium. In 1948 it joined the newly formed NHS and began work on heart and lung surgery. It is now one of the world’s leading heart and lung hospitals with many pioneering breakthroughs in transplant surgery. This includes the UK’s first successful heart transplant in 1979 and the world’s first heart, lung and liver transplant in 1986. Royal Papworth has now outgrown its original site and is moving to a purpose built, new hospital on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. My walk is intended to celebrate the transition from the old to the new, with links to its origins and its future.

DCD Heart Transplant

DCD heart transplant is making a dramatic increase in the number of hearts that can be used for transplant. Royal Papworth performed the first transplant in Europe using this technique in 2015, only just missing out on the world first to St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney. Royal Papworth is now the global leader in DCD heart transplants, at the time of writing they have performed more than 50, which is more than all other hospitals in the world put together. The technique uses a machine to circulate blood to the donor heart, making it resume beating, while it is transported to Royal Papworth. The hospital can only continue to offer this pioneering surgery to its patients in the future by securing further charitable funds. To date, there is no national programme to support this heart transplantation technique and its further development is therefore reliant on funding from charitable sources. Without this funding the 50 hearts would not have been able to be used for transplantation.

Every day three people die in the UK waiting for a transplant. There are six hospitals in the country that perform adult heart transplants and just five that perform lung transplants. Please help me raise funds for Papworth Hospital Charity by sponsoring me at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/papworthdave.