Richard Lampert has had a busy and active life since he received a life-saving heart transplant at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital in 1987. Previously a healthy teenager, Richard had become critically ill with severe viral cardiomyopathy whilst taking his A-levels. This caused him to suffer a major stroke and complete heart failure. He needed a heart transplant to survive, and doctors warned him he would never walk again.
However, following his transplant, and after plenty of intensive physiotherapy and a great deal of perseverance and hard work, Richard regained the ability to walk along with the use of his left arm. Full recovery took a couple of years, and by 1989 Richard was well enough to go to University before pursuing a career in IT. Change, however, was just around the corner.
“Following a spell of working as a computer developer, I was made redundant and decided on a complete change of direction,” explains Richard. “It was a good opportunity and the right time to try something new.”
With the sea calling, and against doctor’s advice, Richard studied to become a water sports instructor at the UK Sailing Academy in Cowes, eventually qualifying not only as an RYA Senior Dinghy Instructor, but also as a Powerboat Instructor and as an Assistant Windsurfing Instructor. Work at a number of outdoor education centres then followed, where Richard taught watersports to children and adults.
Sensing it was time to settle down, Richard eventually returned to the world of computing and since 1999 has worked in IT training for the Open University in Milton Keynes where he lives with his wife Wendy. Whilst working fulltime he has continued sailing and cycling, and has completed a number of sponsored cycles for the British Heart Foundation. Richard also finds time to pursue his other hobbies – photography and travelling.
“In the 25 years since my transplant my health has been generally good. I thank Chris McGregor, my surgeon, and the team at the Freeman for giving me the transplant and giving me the full and rewarding life I now have.” says Richard. “I would like to urge everyone to sign the organ donor register so that more critically ill people can get the opportunity that I was given for a new life.”