Man (58) celebrates his 40-year-old heart

2008-11-09 00:00

Fifty-eight-year-old Brian Sim yesterday celebrated his heart’s 40th birthday. How is this possible, you may ask? Sim had a heart transplant eight years ago and received a heart 18 years younger than he was at the time.

For the past eight years, he has lead a healthy life and travelled around the country without his previous fear of the effects of heart disease. This is the life he would have never have had if he had not undergone a heart transplant.

Sim and a group of friends gathered at Natal Carbineers yesterday to celebrate eight years since the transplant in December 2000.

“Life has been great. I have just returned from a tour to Namibia. I’m also involved with a transplant unit at St Augustine’s Hospital [Durban], said Sim, whose wife died of lung cancer in December 2005.

Sim told The Witness recently that before the transplant, he had been given six weeks to live as a result of congestive heart failure.

To religious groups opposed to organ transplants, Sim had this to say: “It is easy to be critical of it when you haven’t been there in a life-and-death situation”.

Netcare’s KZN transplant co-ordinator Venessa Wentink said people who are opposed to organ donations should know that this is about saving lives, while religion is about preserving life. Wentink said her organisation is currently on an education drive to teach people about the importance of donating organs.

“We visit schools and churches to give information,” she said.

Wintink said currently there are between 5 000 and 6 000 patients who are on the verge of death as they wait for transplants. She said they are mostly waiting for livers, hearts, lungs and cornea transplant.

Those who are interested in getting more information about transplants can call the toll free Organ Donor Foundation number on 080 022 6611 or visit its website www.odf.org.za

bhans@witness.co.za

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