Health

Ex Wales rugby player wants to raise £500,000 for heart transplant in the US

An ex-Wales worldwide rugby player who suffered a heart assault in coaching wants £500,000 to purchase a brand new heart. 

Rhys Thomas was simply 29 virtually died from a heart assault he endured whereas pedaling an train bike in 2012 with the Scarlets, based mostly in Llanelli.

Mr Thomas, who first represented Wales in 2006 towards Argentina earlier than occurring to make seven caps, retired instantly after. The prop lost 50 per cent of his heart muscle.

The father-of-four was fitted with a left ventricular help system (LVAD) in 2014 — a mechanical pump that retains his heart working.

But the LAVD comes with a time restrict, and the now 38-year-old’s heart is taken into account too broken to help the installment of a alternative.  

He now plans to journey 5,300 miles to San Diego in California in the hope of getting a a brand new heart privately as a result of he’s too wholesome to be a precedence for getting one on the NHS. 

‘I’ve realized precisely how valuable life is and to be grateful for each day that I’m in a position to watch my 4 stunning kids develop up,’ he mentioned.

‘The harsh actuality, nevertheless, is the clock is ticking, and I would like a brand new heart if I need to prolong my life.’ 

Mr Thomas, (pictured centre) suffered a heart attack in 2012 while training with the Welsh rugby team the Scarlets

Mr Thomas, (pictured centre) suffered a heart assault in 2012 whereas coaching with the Welsh rugby workforce the Scarlets 

The heart attack caused him to lose 50 per cent of the organ's muscle tissue and meant medics had to install a mechanical pump called Left Ventricular Assist Device to keep his heart working

The heart assault prompted him to lose 50 per cent of the organ’s muscle tissue and meant medics had to set up a mechanical pump referred to as Left Ventricular Assist Device to hold his heart working

What is a Left Ventricular Assist Device?

A Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) is a man-made pump used to deal with folks with extreme heart failure.

It primarily retains the heart pumping if somebody’s heart muscle is just too weak too hold blood flowing via the physique. 

Some persons are fitted with the system if they don’t seem to be anticipated to survive the wait for a heart transplant.

The system is battery powered via a cable which connects to a management unit outdoors the pores and skin and lasts about 4 to six hours. 

People’s lives rely upon the battery working so it’s alarmed to warn whether it is working low and has back-up provide in case of emergencies. 

A graphic illustrating the basic arrangement of a Left Ventricular Assist Device

A graphic illustrating the fundamental association of a Left Ventricular Assist Device

‘The longest anyone has ever survived with a LVAD in the UK is 11 years,’ he added. 

‘In September I might be marking the eighth anniversary of my LVAD.’

LVAD are sometimes fitted as a approach to purchase sufferers time whereas they wait for a heart to change into accessible to transplant. 

But as the becoming of a the system helps enhance a affected person’s well being, they’ll change into a low precedence case — successfully shunting them to the backside of the checklist for transplants. 

Currently, Mr Thomas claims he would want to change into severely ailing, for instance with a extreme an infection or for his LVAD to cease working, earlier than being thought of a excessive precedence.

However, there can be no assure he would survive lengthy sufficient for a heart to change into accessible in that state of affairs.

Mr Thomas has already had one critical scare, struggling a blood clot in his LAVD after an operation on his appendix which led to struggling a stroke.

He mentioned the stress of dwelling on borrowed time had taken its toll and he has battled a consuming drawback. 

‘Living with a machine that has fairly actually stored me alive for the previous eight years has been robust each mentally and bodily,’ he mentioned.

‘All these traumas and difficult personal life circumstances led to a battle with alcohol habit.

‘Thankfully, I’m now 30-months sober, 4 stone lighter and in the finest state of well being mentally and bodily that I probably might be dwelling with a LVAD.’ 

Mr Thomas has now arrange a fundraising marketing campaign to raise £500,000 to go in the direction of securing a heart transplant.  

‘A choice to journey overseas in order to have a heart transplant just isn’t one which I’ve taken evenly,’ he mentioned. 

‘The final 10 years have been extremely difficult for me, and my household and I’ve learnt and lost an amazing deal. One factor I’ve discovered is myself.

‘I’ve discovered an interior peace and love and I’m grateful for each day I get to spend on this earth with my family members. 

Pictured here in his time at the Scarlets Mr Thomas was forced to retire from professional rugby at just 29 immediately following his hear attack and has lived with LVAD since 2014

Pictured right here in his time at the Scarlets Mr Thomas was pressured to retire from skilled rugby at simply 29 instantly following his hear assault and has lived with LVAD since 2014

Mr Thomas now hopes to raise £500,000 to buy a new heart for transplant in the US

Mr Thomas now hopes to raise £500,000 to purchase a brand new heart for transplant in the US

The now 38-year-old pictured here centre right surrounded with his family admitted that the challenges and trauma of waiting for a heart led to alcohol addiction but he has now recovered

The now 38-year-old pictured right here centre proper surrounded together with his household admitted that the challenges and trauma of ready for a heart led to alcohol habit however he has now recovered

‘Yes, a transplant comes with substantial threat. But given the different, I’m completely happy to embrace that threat.’ 

Mr Thomas has raised simply over £10,000, 2 per cent of the half-a-million-pounds he wants for the transplant.

People can donate to his marketing campaign by way of a JustGiving fundraiser web page. 

NHS Blood and Transplant advises that the routine, non-emergency, wait for a heart transplant is between 18 and 24 months.

However, the precise ready time will rely upon elements like a affected person’s well being situation, if they’re an grownup or youngster, in addition to discovering an acceptable donor which matches their blood group.

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