Wymondham father-of-three braves Three Peak Challenge just six years after life-saving heart transplant
- Credit: Archant Norfolk
Six years ago, Clive Andrews was preparing to undergo a life-saving heart transplant after he was diagnosed with a dangerous cardiac condition.
But today, the father-of-three is fighting fit and is preparing to scale the UK's three highest peaks this weekend as part of a fund-raising drive for the hospital which saved his life.
He and two friends will take on Snowdon in Wales, Scafell Pike in The Lakes and Ben Nevis in Scotland in less than 36 hours to raise cash for the Papworth Hospital in Cambridge.
The 48-year-old's story begun when he fell ill in 2007.
'I have always been fit and healthy, I was always played football at a high level and always been a runner. I didn't worry about it,' he said.
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It was only after he collapsed at work that he was rushed by ambulance to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
Within just hours, Mr Andrews, who lives on Downham Grove, Wymondham, had been diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy - a disease that prevents the heart from pumping blood around the body efficiently.
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'I was in this room by myself where the nurse was not allowed to leave and I was watched 24 hours a day.
'I was sort of in a daze, it was surreal. I could hardly sleep at night because of the pressure in my neck and check. It was a scary time,' he said.
A turn for the worse left Mr Andrews fearing the worst.
'Friends came into see me and they thought it was the last time they were going to see me. I remember looking in the mirror and I didn't know who I was,' he added.
After three weeks at the hospital, the decision was made to rush the Mr Andrews, who works at Bartram Mowers in Eaton, to Papworth Hospital, where he was quickly put into intensive care.
Doctors broke the news that his only chance of survival was a heart transplant - but that there would be a wait.
To ease the strain on his heart, Mr Andrews became one of the first people in the UK to be fitted with an LVAD, an electrically-powered circulatory device to help his heart pump his blood more effectively.
The device helped the father-of-three survive for almost a year - but he was rushed back to Papworth after he collapsed at home.
Within four days a donor organ was found and surgeons begun the four-hour surgery to transplant the heart.
Things went smoothly and just 12 days after the operation, Mr Andrews was back on his feet - and back at work.
The trio decided to take on the 10,000 feet challenge this weekend to thank the team which saved his life.
Mr Andrews said: 'Having undergone two major operations at Papworth hospital, I know how important it is to have a specialist heart and lung unit like Papworth on your doorstep. You may think, like I used to, that you will never end up in such an establishment but life has a way of throwing nasty obstacles in your way.'
To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/Clive-Andrews
Do you have a Wymondham story? Contact reporter Lauren Cope on Lauren.firstname.lastname@example.org