Heart transplant patient gives back with golf day

 

Heart transplant recipient Jan Lockett, from Leominster in Herefordshire, is hosting a golf day to raise money for the transplant unit that gave her a second chance at life.

Jan underwent the life-saving transplant at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham in November 2011, after being told that she only had weeks to live if she did not receive her transplant.

Since her operation, Jan has become a vocal campaigner for transplant awareness, frequently organising awareness events and speaking about her experience. Now, she wants to raise money for the hospital that saved her life, and is hosting the Jan Lockett Heart Transplant Challenge Cup Gold Day at Leominster Golf Club.

This two day event will be taking place between 23 and 24 May, and will see her family and friends take part in a weekend of competitive golf to raise money for the heart and lung transplant unit.

Speaking of her experience, Jan said: “My experience of hospitals goes all the way back to when I was 14 years old and I was diagnosed with bone cancer. The doctors initially thought that they would have to amputate my leg, but after being transferred to the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, I was given radiotherapy treatment instead.

“21 years later, I suffered two heart attacks, whilst I was in my mid-thirties. These came as a great shock to me, as I lived a very healthy lifestyle. I swam regularly and was generally a very healthy person.”

By 2008, Jan’s health had started to seriously deteriorate. Jan said: “I was told then that I had six months to live. I was so unwell that I became housebound; I was unable to do anything at all.”

Jan’s wait for a heart continued and her health deteriorated. Jan got a call to say that a heart had been found for her, but it proved to be unsuitable. Jan said: “I thought that would be it for me and that a heart wouldn’t be found. I thought ‘everyone gets one heart, and mine proved to be unsuitable’.”

Despite this setback, a suitable heart was found for Jan, and she made her way to QEHB for the operation. She said: “I couldn’t wait, I was so excited that they had found a heart for me. My son, Peta, is a golf pro and we were trying to let him know that the doctors had found a heart for me, but we couldn’t get through to him!”

Jan’s ten-hour operation was a success. Speaking about waking up after the operation, Jan said: “It felt like the greatest gift anyone could receive. I could actually feel my heart beating within me. I hadn’t felt this in so long as my heart had become so weak by the end. It was a wonderful sensation.”

Jan Lockett pictured at QEHB where she received her life-saving transplant.

Now, over seven years on, Jan is looking forward to raising money for the hospital, saying: “It’s such a brilliant hospital and the heart transplant team are fantastic. I have had a second chance at life thanks to them, and to my donor and their family. We’re all really looking forward to the golf day, and we hope it will raise awareness and money for this amazing cause.”

The money Jan raises will help to provide world class equipment for the heart transplant team. Last year, QEHB Charity funded ‘Heart in a Box’, which keeps a donor’s heart beating outside of the body, keeping the heart in a better condition for longer. This could increase the number of heart transplants that take place at QEHB by up to 50%.

Jan said: “Heart in a Box sounds like such an amazing machine and I am proud that the  money we raise will help to support this incredible, life-saving machine.”

If you would like to take part in the Challenge Cup, or if you are interested in sponsoring one of the holes, then please get in touch with Jan by contacting her on 07702 385 205 or email her on jana4a4@aol.co.uk

You can support Jan’s fundraising by donating here.

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