Dorking resident marks heart transplant anniversary by competing in World Transplant Winter Games

November 21, 2017
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An Dorking man is defying the odds by snowboarding at the 2018 World Transplant Games a year after undergoing a heart transplant.

Tim McWilliams, an American who has lived in Dorking for more than 10 years, had to have a heart transplant on January 3, 2017 after suffering from a heart failure at the end of 2016.

Mr McWilliams, of Dene Street, underwent the surgery at Harefield Hospital after a mystery virus caused him to suffer from cardiomyopathy (a thickening of the heart muscle) and suffer irreparable heart damage.

Now, less than one-year after the major operation Mr McWilliams is signed up to compete for Great Britain at the 2018 World Transport Games and says he couldn’t be happier with his recovery.

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He said: “Being able to get back on my board is very symbolic of my road to recovery and being back and functioning.

“You have to be on the positive and the aggressive side to make this work. I’m not being crazy about my physical regime but it gives me a goal to work towards.”

The 47 year-old suffered from heart failure after he contracted a virus four years ago that left him on an abundance of medication.

Mr McWilliams, a tour producer for American live music events company Live Nation, said: “The medication did its job for three years but then my heart started to quit its job.

“There was a big question mark on my life last year.

“There was no option but for me to get a transplant. I was in hospital waiting for seven weeks so I had a lot of time to sit and think. I was short on life but the transplant has helped stretch it out.”

After seeing a poster for the summer version of the World Transplant Games at Dorking Community Hospital, Mr McWilliams decided to look into if there was a winter version.

Finding there was one coming up in January of 2018, he entered the giant slalom and parallel slalom snowboarding events, a sport he picked up when he was 19.

Tim McWilliams will be competing for Great Britain at the 2018 World Transplant Winter Games
(Image: Grant Melton)

Mr McWilliams said: “There are a lot of people who need transplants and a shockingly low amount of people who sign up to be donors.

“The World Transplant Games does a great job of raising awareness for donors to sign up. It is vital as many people as possible do as every donor makes two lives out of one.

“The attitude from the outside world is that snowboarding can’t be good for your heart but I challenge anyone who has that opinion to come out on the mountains for a day with me.”

Mr McWilliams also made it clear that staying fit and healthy after undergoing the transplant has been ‘critical’ to his recovery.

He said: “The games have a very positive stance. It really helps people who have undergone these things to get back on their feet and return to being fit and healthy.”

Despite being American born Mr McWilliams will compete in the games for Great Britain.

He said: “I’ve got a British heart so I’ll be competing for Team GB. Knowing that I’ve got a UK heart makes me feel as if I am a fully integrated citizen.”

The games will take place from January 7-12 2018 in Anzère-Arbaz, Switzerland.

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Article source: http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/dorking-resident-marks-heart-operation-13928791


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