Joe's speech from the heart

A LOWESTOFT man has made a special speech during a 40th anniversary celebration of the first ever heart transplant carried out in the United States.Joe Matthews was one of several post surgery patients invited back to Stanford University Hospital in California to give a presentation about his personal experience and his life after being given a new heart.

A LOWESTOFT man has made a special speech during a 40th anniversary celebration of the first ever heart transplant carried out in the United States.

Joe Matthews was one of several post surgery patients invited back to Stanford University Hospital in California to give a presentation about his personal experience and his life after being given a new heart.

The 21-year-old had the life-saving operation in April 2006 after doctors at Stanford found he was suffering from severe cardiomyopathy, an enlargement of the heart.

Joe's rare condition often affects young athletes and at the time of the diagnosis Joe of Fleet Dyke Drive, had gone to live in America, playing rugby for a major team through his college hoping to clinch a scholarship.


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On his website - English Joe, he explained how everybody important to do with the cardiovascular system was at the anniversary, as well as many old faces he had met during his time at the hospital.

He said: 'To be under the same roof as so many intelligent but all modest people to do with cardiovascular life was amazing and an experience I will never forget.

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'I'd say this day is up there in the memory bank next to my actually heart transplant experience.'

Despite being forced to give up his dream, Joe has taken up another sport, which he is excelling at just as much as the former.

Since his successful surgery Joe has run the London marathon, the Bupa Great South Run, the Bungay Black Dog half Marathon and the Lowestoft Scores race.

And last year he won a gold medal on both the 100 and 200 metre sprints along with the long jump at the British Transplant Games. He is now looking forward to competing in the world games in Australia this August.

Next month he has another important hospital appointment and if all goes well he will have his second national team meeting the week after.

In preparation Joe joined the City of Norwich Athletics Club last year, sprint training once a week.

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