20-year-old Brooklyn Peakman crosses the finish line of his 20 mile fundraising walk from Llandudno to Prestatyn. Footage Credit: BHF Cymru
A 20-year-old heart transplant patient defied doctors and went on to do "everything they said that he'd never do," after his family were warned he would have "no quality of life."
Brooklyn Peakman from Prestatyn endured a "rollercoaster" journey to get a heart transplant, which took three attempts before the surgery was successful.
Just a month after receiving a new heart, Brooklyn joined his family and friends on Easter Sunday as they walked 20 miles from Llandudno to Prestatyn to raise money for cardiovascular research.
"It seems all so surreal still. With everything we've been through, to be honest we didn't think Brooklyn would be coming out of the hospital, so to have him home, it's amazing," said Brooklyn's fiancée, Ellie Spencer.
The fundraising walk was initially planned for Brooklyn's birthday on 13th February, but had to be postponed when a donor heart was found for him.
It was that same day that Brooklyn decided to propose to his girlfriend Ellie "with the heart he was born with" in case he “didn’t love her with his new heart".
But after Brooklyn had been opened up for surgery, the donor heart was found to have deteriorated on the way to the hospital and was unsuitable for the transplant.
Brooklyn woke up believing the transplant had successfully been carried out.
He was later prepared for a second heart transplant, which was also found to be unsuitable.
Ellie said: "We felt like it was just never ending because Brooklyn was on a list called the Super Urgent list, so usually they do get them quite quickly, but we seemed to be waiting quite a long time for Brooklyn's.
"We started losing a bit of hope thinking, 'Is any heart going to be good enough for him?'"
Then, on St Patrick’s Day, Brooklyn was third time lucky and finally got his new heart after months in hospital. His family and friends have nicknamed him Paddy.
Around 340,000 people in Wales are currently living with heart and circulatory diseases in Wales, according to the British Heart Foundation.
BHF Cymru Fundraising Manager for North Wales, Andy Green, said: "We are so grateful that Brooklyn’s family and friends chose to fundraise for the BHF at what must have been an incredibly difficult time for them, while they waited for a suitable heart to be found for Brooklyn.
“It’s wonderful that Brooklyn is now back home where he belongs while he recovers from his transplant and we’re looking forward to being there to thank him and his family for their amazing support.
For more than 60 years the public’s generosity has funded BHF research that has turned ideas that once seemed like ‘science fiction’ into treatments that save lives every day. But millions of people are still waiting for the next breakthrough."