Man with dead cyclist's heart becomes avid cyclist

A British father whose life was saved by a heart transplanted from a keen cyclist awoke to find he had a passion for the sport too. (Supplied)

A British father whose life was saved by a heart transplanted from a keen cyclist awoke to find he had a passion for the sport too, the ‘Daily Mail’ reported.

Thirty eight-year-old Kevin Mashford from Backwell near the southwestern Bristol town was given weeks to live as he battled a congenital heart condition, the paper said.

The businessman did not realise how serious his illness was until medics told him he had kidney failure, lung failure and heart failure.

However, after his successful operation, doctors told Mashford that his new heart came from a man named John – an avid cyclist who was killed in a collision with a car while out riding, according to the paper.

“Seven days after his 13-hour operation, he asked physiotherapists to bring an exercise bike into his room and cycled seven minutes every day for a week,” it said.

 “Despite never having cycled before, he took to the saddle when he left hospital, and now regularly cycles, with John's name etched into his helmet.”

The paper said that Mashford is also gearing up for a challenging 342-mile ride from his home near Bristol to Newcastle – where he had the life-saving transplant – to raise money in John’s memory.

Mashford was born with multiple heart defects, meaning his heart was not effectively pumping blood around his body. He was fitted with three pacemakers but suffered a stroke and nearly died, ‘Daily Mail’ said.

Mashford – whose wife Jo, 38, is expecting their third child – said: “I was keen to find out a bit about my donor. The moment I woke up I felt stronger. I asked my physio to bring in an exercise bike and I cycled seven minutes a day for the next seven days in memory of my donor. My heart wanted to go and go.”

He added: “Nineteen weeks later I completed a 30-mile charity cycle in his memory. A year later I rode 54 miles from London to Brighton.”

Mashford said he owes everything to John. “I realised another family has done this for me – another family has enabled my family to carry on.”
 

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