Heart transplant patient signs up for Chariots of Fire

Following a life-saving heart transplantation in 2015, Tom Shing, 24, shall be entering Cambridge’s annual charity relay race, Chariots of Fire, which this year is supporting Papworth Hospital Charity

 Thomas Shing was referred to Papworth Hospital suffering from cardiomyopathy; a disease of the heart muscle which eventually left him fighting for his life in hospital and in desperate need of a heart transplantation. Tom who had already lost his mother, when aged 5, from the same condition, agreed to join a pioneering programme for transplantation called DCD transplantation or ‘Non-Beating Heart Transplantation’ which had been developed by Papworth in response to a worldwide shortage of donor hearts. 

In 2015, Tom was successfully transplanted at Papworth Hospital becoming only the second person in Europe to benefit from this pioneering transplant programme. When asked about his operation, Tom said: "I went into hospital not knowing if I would get a heart. When a match was found, it was the best feeling in the world! “I’m now back at home spending time with the ones I love and back to what I love doing the most; wakeboarding and motor-racing. It’s amazing how quickly my life has been transformed – I cannot thank Papworth enough for what they have done”.

 With increasing numbers of patients on the transplant waiting list, this programme is bringing more hope to those waiting for the ‘gift of life’. It is proving to be so successful at Papworth, that the hospital has been able to increase the number of people receiving a heart transplant by 40%. This new technique is being supported by Papworth Hospital Charity. In order to continue to offer and develop this life-saving procedure, the hospital must secure further charitable funds. This year, all funds raised through the Chariots of Fire race will support the research and development of the DCD transplant programme at Papworth. 

Speaking about running for Papworth at the race, Tom concluded: “My life has been transformed thanks to the Papworth Hospital team who established DCD heart transplantation, without which, I would not be here today. I am delighted that the DCD transplant programme is being supported by Chariots of Fire and I am asking that everyone join me in signing up to take part” 

Race Director, Charles Hewitson, from Hewitsons Charitable Trust who organise the event said: “This is a great opportunity for local people to show their support for a really important cause. By giving your time, you will help raise vital funds for Papworth Hospital Charity and for others like Tom who owe their life to the pioneering work the hospital provides. I am delighted that each year the local community continues to show their support for Chariots by taking part and raising sponsorship and I’m sure this year will be no exception.” 

The race takes place on Sunday 18th September and starts and end on Queens’ Green. Each runner will follow a picturesque and unique 1.7-mile route through some of Cambridge’s historic city centre and beautiful colleges, over the Cam and along the Backs, before passing on the baton to the next runner at Queens’ Green. Team registrations close on Wednesday 14th September at 5.00pm or earlier if registrations reach 380 teams.