Eastern Courier : February 18th 2011
www.easterncourier.co.nz Friday, February 18, 2011 extra content, extra early, extra special! online editions Essential local news available now, wherever you are...and it's FREE! Just click on "Latest Edition" at www.easterncourier.co.nz Eastern Courier online editions have exciting extras for all our readers -- including video and back issues. Get online now for a total multi media experience with the latest local news -- anywhere, anytime. A heartfelt challenge By NICOLA WILLIAMS Heart-felt: Ross Forrester completed the Tongariro Crossing two years after having a heart transplant. Photo: FIONA GOODALL A NEW heart is taking Ross Forrester places. Over summer the Howick resident became the first heart transplant recipient to complete the 19km Tongariro Crossing. It was another goal crossed off the bucket list he made when he became ill. It was to give myself some goals because you could get pretty miserable.'' Mr Forrester had a con- dition that made his heart pump inefficiently. In November 2008 he was told there was no alterna- tive'' but to have a heart transplant. It's pretty hard to describe. I went from think- ing I was bullet-proof to sud- denly realising that I was on a steady downhill path. They won't put you on the waiting list unless you've got less than six months to live.'' Other items on his list were being ticked off but the nine- hour Mt Tongariro trek was one he couldn't complete without a new heart. He says the elation he felt when he learned he would receive a new heart stemmed from another family's grief. Mr Forrester spent three months in hospital after his February 2009 transplant, enduring weekly biopsies for signs of rejection. It's not fun because they cut a little hole in your neck and put a wire down to the heart to remove a piece of tis- sue.'' When he woke up in inten- sive care a week after the transplant he vowed to com- plete the crossing within two years as a sign he was fully rehabilitated. Getting to the start point was laced with fear'' because there was no turning back. I thought the heart would be fine but there's a mental side I was wondering how I would cope with,'' he says. There were lots of tears when I walked out the other end.'' His next epic challenge is to raise the profile of organ donation in New Zealand which has one of the lowest rates in the world. He wants to challenge beliefs that organ donor recipients don't have a good life anyway''. Mr Forrester aims to play golf in the World Transplant Games in Sweden in June. I would like to use it as a means of creating awareness of the importance of dona- tion.'' He has written to thank the family of his donor, a 36-year-old man who died in an accident. I told them some of the things I had achieved sub- sequent to the transplant, and that I saw the birth of my grandson which I would never had got to see other- wise.'' He urges people to have a conversation with family about organ donation. It's a huge gift people can give -- and we can lead nor- mal lives.'' Go to www.ross2world transplantgames.co.nz for more information.
February 16th 2011
February 23rd 2011