Kevin Mashford battled with a congenital heart defect all his life until he was given no other option than to have a heart transplant. He waited a year on the donor list until a match was found. Kevin under went hours of open heart surgery at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle and was able to begin the rest of his life.
Kevin quickly found out his donor had died in a cycling accident and in his memory he asked for a exercise bike to be bought into his room and rode seven minuets for seven days. He then had the cycling bug and wanted to raise money to increase education for nurses dealing with the physiological issues transplant patients go though.
Kevin set up The Transplant Association charity with a friend who lost her husband after a lung transplant. The first major fund raising event was a charity bike ride from Ashton Gate to the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.
Over sixty riders and their families gathered at Ashton Gate on Friday, July 17th as the riders prepared to set off on the long journey ahead of them.
Kevin said “The first feed station seemed to take a very short amount of time to get to and I think that was because the spirit and atmosphere was totally amazing”
“We met some great people, had some laughs, tears, and great times”
The group rode over ninety miles per day and on day two Kevin rode even more, “in Nottingham we had clocked 96 miles but earlier on I had tweeted that if someone joined the organ donor register I would do 100 miles, I had 23 messages saying they had signed up that day so off I went for another four miles”
Even though Kevin and his team put themselves through vigorous training before the ride, everyone struggled on the final day.
“It was a hard slog through fields were the cycle tracks were made of rocks and loose gravel, the mechanics were really busy repairing many punctures, chains and gears, but climbing through the streets of Tyneside I eventually caught a glimpse the Angel of the North and was overcome with emotion, we had done it, just the last seven miles to go where we were joined by lots of kids, my sons included.”