Heart transplant recipient grateful for gift that keeps on giving


Volunteer Keith Eveson, donor co-ordinator Linda Thomas, Russ Tuff and recipient Steven Seddon.
Volunteer Keith Eveson, donor co-ordinator Linda Thomas, Russ Tuff and recipient Steven Seddon.

AGED 60, and wary of his family history of heart problems, Steve Seddon retired from his job.

For 43 years he worked in aviation, eventually rising to the top of state line management before deciding life had to come first.

“I retired in 2011 because the males in my family had heart related problems and I wanted to enjoy my retirement in case the family genes caught up with me,” Mr Seddon said.

It did not take long for Mr Seddon’s genetics to appear, and while on holiday in 2012 heart issues surfaced.

“(I) collapsed at the table in a cafe but I carried on and travelled to the UK, Ireland… Six weeks after my return, I was having dinner and just faded away. I was sent to Fremantle hospital for over a week,” he said.

It was the beginning of an 18-month ordeal that began when he was fitted with an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) and ended with a place on the transplant list place on a when it began failing.

“I hit a brick wall, barely able to get up from my chair to the bedroom,” Mr Seddon said.

“You can lose spirit when you reach such a low (and) at times I didn’t recognise myself in the mirror, I was so bloated from all the fluid, I ballooned from 84 kg to 104 kg.

“My body disowned me and there was nothing I could do about it. You have to be strong and try to remain positive.”

Mr Seddon was kept on a cocktail of medications, before receiving a call at 5am on a Saturday morning telling him a donor heart was available.

“(It was) an incredibly surreal moment for (my wife and I), we drove in silence to the hospital with very mixed feelings,” he said.

“For me to have this second chance in life; a loving family had made a selfless decision to save another life.

“I was and am still astonished that it all happened so quickly.”

Waking up on the Sunday afternoon, Mr Seddon commenced at the cardio gym and said he went from looking like a 200-year-old man to a new man.

Mr Seddon said Donate Life week – the first week in August – was an opportunity for him to be thankful of what he had been through, and gained.

“A lot of us take everyday life for granted. Until you’re in my position you don’t appreciate it,” he said.

“Getting up every day and literally smelling the roses, seeing the sunrise… So I try to live life to the full but within hospital parameters.”

He said had a message for the donor’s family.

“I hope the memory of the loved one that donated the organ stays in your mind but he or she will be in ours as well. He or she will live on in the next generation,” he said.

“Not a day goes by without my saying some sort of thanks, subconsciously or consciously.”