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obert Tools

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Reg Chisholm
Heart Transplant 03/12/99
Glasgow Royal Infirmary
Scottish Cardiopulmonary Transplant Unit
Mr S Nykee Transplant Surgeon
Reg Chisholm
(Great British Cycle Team, European Games, Dublin 2004)

Anyone waiting for a transplant will become aware of their own mortality and their reduced quality of life. 1997 when I was 43 years old everything was going along nicely. New job, new house, more time to spend with my family, then while decorating, I felt some chest and arm pains. A Heart attack later turning into Cardiomyopathy.  The condition left me weak and hardly able to climb the stairs and the cardiologist at the Edinburgh Royal told me that my only chance of recovery was a heart transplant.

Sitting, looking out of the window., just wondering what was in front of you. Not Knowing? Who would have thought 5 years ago when the outlook was so black, I couldn't climb a flight of stairs.  I was not able to walk to the end of the garden path and back. Legs that a elephant would be proud off. Lie down and have a decent night’s sleep without the fear of drowning and dying. Do a very simple task as hit a nail into wood with out being totally exhausted. 

"I can recall waking up in intensive care feeling a lot better almost right away and within a couple of days the nurses had you up out of bed and walking about in the ward. Everything is still going great. Six monthly check ups, and every so often the hospital may ask for an extra visit so they can perform some other check on you. The ongoing care is first class and the medical staff and nurses when approached go out of their way to keep you up to date with your medication changes in your long-term medication. They tell me I am as healthy as I was 22 years ago. Everything is going fine.

Friends and work colleges often look and wonder in disbelieve. It seems the obvious way to think of someone who has had a transplant is that they should be in a wheelchair or on crutches, this I’m afraid is not so. Many ask and say why not just take it easy. Longevity is my answer?

Surgeons perform their magic to give their patients back their self-respect. “Quality of Life, and return them back to some sort of normality which before their operation would not even have been considered.”

"What was a huge surprise, and nobody told me before hand, was that within a week I would be attending the gym. I could not believe in such a short space of time how much difference each day was making and getting stronger and stronger every day. Work mates who attended a local gym invited me to go along and start doing some light training with them. This progressed from gym out onto bicycles and the rest as they say is history.

Training is very hard and a lonely experience, day after day week after week so goals and targets have to be set. If you just got up everyday for a run or cycle-ride and it’s raining or windy then you would soon give up and get bored fairly quickly.

So early in the year I set my sights to enter various events, leading up to World European or British Game’s. These games really are not about winning medals they are the shop windows for transplantation and organ donation. The games are a “Celebration of Life.” As equally important as that we manage to promote transplantation in a positive way and hope that it has encourage people to carry a donor card.

As equally important, we promote transplantation in a very positive way and hope that the general public take notice and encourage family and friends to go home talk, then think seriously of carrying carry a donor card.

"More people should consider how organ donation really does save lives. They should make the effort to join the organ donor register and let their wishes be known to their family."

"It's a life that I would not have had had it not been for the donors family who gave me my new heart. Neither would I have had it if someone had not asked the donor if they would allow their organs to be used " 

I have had a very full life since my operation - seen 5 grandchildren being born and growing up with another due in a few weeks. The oldest grandson was born only 4 weeks after my operation. To-date I still have regular check ups and tests. Transplants do fall ill as any other normal person and may need some additional hospital care. All transplants do get days when they are under the weather and not feeling so good, but then again who doesn't ! The operation was a total success and I have enjoyed a full and active life ever since

The support I've received from my medical team and nursing staff, plus my close family and friends has been fantastic. Now I want to give something back and help promote the importance of organ donation.

“Awareness and card carrying is lower in Scotland than in the rest of the UK,”. “TIME" tries to get family & friends talking about it now, rather than in the emotionally-fraught period immediately after a death.”

 My coach Neal Doggett from Midlothian Race Club has formulated a special training programme for me. It goes without saying Neal’s help has been very crucial over the years, as he steps up my training plus  “turbo session’s” on the cycling machine at Cockenzie’s gym. Carrying on throughout the long cold winter nights and days.  Five years down the line with on going support and help from my coach Neal Doggett I look forward to another ten years and more of competition and going to the games and other events to promote and raise awareness for Organ Donation and transplantation. 

Work Colleague Wattie Wyse has also got to be thanked for starting me on the recovery trail four years ago. Wattie who paces me regularly, we also train and cycle as a team two or three times a week, and at weekends can be seen cycling routes over the Lammermuir Hills when our wives allow.

The European Heart and Lung silver medals I won this year are a bonus . Since January my training programme has been plagued with on going injuries and health concerns. Leading up to the games while training I also had the displeasure of going over the handlebars on my bike crashing to the ground on a the busy A1. 

The Irish President Mary Mcaleese attended the opening dinner and welcomed almost 500 heart and or lung competitors from 18 European Countries with Ireland's traditional words "One Hundred Thousand Welcomes". She went on to say that Ireland would be getting their own transplant centre later this year, and she also told us that Ireland had more people per thousand signed up to the donor register than another other country and hoped the games would encourage even more people to sign up on the Donor Card registration

Dedicated I am to do what it takes to be a winner – but the cost of taking part would be prohibitive if it wasn’t for the generous of my supporters and sponsors. That’s why a £1,000 boost from Scottish Power had been vital for me to attend last years World Games at Nancy France. “The donation allowed me get a new set of wheels and gears and also helped subsidise my accommodation and travelling costs.

“It was a massive help and I thank Scottish Power repeatedly very much for all they have done over these five years to support me and stand by me when I was very ill.”

Reg Chisholm



Andrea Barrett
Heart Transplant Feb 2002
10years old

Andrea Barrett

" Always keep calm whatever the doctor says, and to enjoy life"


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