JUST a few weeks ago, Joe Scott couldn’t walk more than two steps after undergoing a life-changing heart transplant.
It was the third lucky time for the 60-year-old when he got the call from NHS Golden Jubilee Hospital, Clydebank, saying they thought they had found a match. He had been diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a hardening of the heart muscle that can lead to heart failure, and transplant surgery was the only option.
He had the operation in November and now less than six months later will line up with thousands of participants for the Glasgow Kiltwalk on Sunday April 24.
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Mr Scott, a former skydiver, was inspired to take part by veteran blind marathon runner and fundraiser Scott Cunningham from Lanarkshire. It was through their conversations that Mr Scott felt that undertaking the three-mile Wee Wander was something he could aim for to increase his level of fitness.
And it was the connection to Mr Cunningham that led Mr Scott to sign up to raise money for SSAFA – the Armed Forces Charity, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association.
Although he was inspired by others around him, Mr Scott now proves to be an inspiration and also wishes to highlight the fantastic care and support he received at Golden Jubilee Hospital.
With his dog Rio by his side, Mr Scott is now building up his mileage and will be joined on the Kiltwalk by his daughters Aden, 23, and Kendal, 26, and pal Willie Anderson. Mr. Scott’s wife, Ashley, waits for them at the finish line.
“I was very inspired by Mr Cunningham and with the fact that I could combine the Kiltwalk with fundraising for charity,” Mr Scott said. “I thought if I was going to do this and had this opportunity in life, it might help someone else if I could raise money for SSAFA.
“And without the amazing team of Dr. Johnathan Dalzell and all the staff, I wouldn’t be doing this. My story might even inspire others to take on a challenge and do something they never thought they would do.
“I was given this opportunity when a donor heart came to me and I will never forget it.”
Mr Scott, from Irvine, Ayrshire, had hoped to be able to raise around £500, but he received such support that he has now exceeded his fundraising target before even crossing the starting line.
“Signing up to do this gave me great focus and as a team we have now raised over £2000. After the operation in November I spent 16 days in intensive care and I don’t couldn’t believe I was going to get up when the physio came in and within three weeks I was able to go home. I was a little surprised by that but laughed when the staff said ‘Think- you that we would let you go home if you weren’t ready?’
“It was New Years Day when I had 500 yards and I’ve been building my distance ever since. And now I just managed to walk three miles. I think that my operation gave me a joy of living because before I couldn’t even climb stairs without getting out of breath. This operation changed my life.
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Kiltwalkers can choose from several distances, the Mighty Stride (22.7 miles), Big Stroll (14.37 miles) and Wee Wander (three miles).
Every penny raised for your charity will be matched 50% thanks to the generosity of Sir Tom Hunter and the Hunter Foundation. This means that if you raise £100 for your charity they will receive £150.
And this year you can also help raise money for The Herald covid memorial. We have partnered with Kiltwalk once again and if you would like to participate to help us reach our fundraising goal for the Pollok Country Park Memorial, simply select The Herald Memorial Garden from the drop down options.
The Herald is leading a campaign to create I Remember: Scotland’s Covid Memorial in the grounds of Glasgow’s Pollok Country Park.
The Mighty Stride route will start in the city’s Glasgow Green, The Big Stroll departs from Clydebank, The Wee Wander starts at Lomond Shores and the three walks head towards the finish line at Balloch.
There is still time to take part in the event at https://www.thekiltwalk.co.uk/events/glasgow
You can donate to Mr. Scott’s fundraising page here.