Ahead of Heart vs Lungs 2.0, we spoke to Amy, one of last year’s fiercest and most competitive participants, about her motivation to take on the mission and how she found the challenge. 

Life with Cystic Fibrosis before her lung transplant 

Today Amy looks back over pictures from before her lung transplant and can’t believe the difference. Living with Cystic Fibrosis had completely changed the way she looked. So much of her life was difficult. She found breathing in the shower hard and needed to take oxygen in with her. To maintain a healthy weight and manage the physio she needed to do daily Amy needed a large calorific intake, even if she didn't feel like it. She also needed to put up with uncomfortable feeding tubes. Amy was exhausted. 

Having been on the transplant list for two years, finally, in 2018 some lungs were found for her. "Once the call came through, I lost all of that; needing the oxygen, the heavy diet, and losing the feeding tube which was the best thing ever". Six weeks post-transplant and with the determination we've come to know from Amy, she was ready to give her new lungs a test drive. 

Taking on a fun run six weeks post-transplant 

Amy remembers "I was in the hospital recovering when I found out about the Harefield Fun Run. I said, “I’m just going to do it!” and while some were worried it was too soon after major surgery, I had to see what these lungs were made of! What better place to try than near Harefield Hospital and around all Harefield’s greenery?" 

Amy completed her 5k walk with a jog, raised £1,500 for the Charity and started off her post-transplant medal haul. "When everything was cancelled because of Covid-19 last year, I was so disappointed I wasn’t going to get my medal. Every year after my transplant I’ve got a medal for walks. So, I was so keen to sign up to Team Lungs!" she says. 

The Team Heart vs Team Lungs virtual challenge 

Amy had been struggling with poor lung function in the run-up to Team Heart vs Team Lungs. In fact, she started counting her steps in Harefield Hospital as she needed a bronchoscopy and a week’s stay. Hearing there were other members of Team Lungs on-site, Amy went off to find them and recruit them for a wander around the grounds. 

I was in the hospital coming out for a walk in my Team Lungs t-shirt and I heard someone shout out “Team Lungs!” no idea who shouted it, but it made me feel like I was part of something. There was a friendly competition with some of the staff who were on Team Heart – it really brought a lot of us together

Now joined by Sarah and Lindsay, who were also patients at the time, together they found Harefield’s Lake. “It was so beautiful!” says Amy “There we’re dragonflies and it was so relaxing; had I have known about it when I was in for my transplant, I would have been asking them to take me down there all the time” 

2020 had been a difficult year for Amy. Months of shielding and the loss of a close relative had left Amy feeling unmotivated.  

It was good to focus on something else to pull me out of this hermit lifestyle and get some fresh air. That competition with pesky Team Heart, doing something with my friends; the challenge gave me something to feel positive about – even if it was just walking around the world!

While the route crossed Europe, together both teams covered enough miles to circumnavigate the world. At every milestone each participant received a postcard from the place they'd gone through along the route, taking them out of the monotony of lockdown life for a brief moment.  

After a strong lead along the route in the first couple of weeks Team Lungs fell behind.  Amy was obsessively checking My Virtual Mission to see where the Lungs were in relation to Team Heart.  

I’d start following the progress of some of the clinical staff I knew and left comments to push them on. I was taking no excuses

Amy was also a fantastic motivator, chasing her 15 strong team 'Amy’s Angels' for steps every day. Losing to Team Heart was deflating.She’d invested so much energy into the competition she was almost ready to cry, but she encouraged the Angels and the rest of Team Lungs to cross the finish line before the mission ended.  

Amy is, of course, already recruiting to the Angels ahead of Heart vs Lungs 2.0 and is excited to have Will Bayley and Aaron McKibbin as team captains. She feels sure that under their expert leadership Team Lungs will be more determined than ever to take the win. 

When asked whether she had a message for Team Heart she answered: 

you’re going down!” 

Inspired by Amy to move for Team Lungs this year? Sign up to Heart vs Lungs 2.0 and every mile you cover will help the team and our hospitals go further.

Sign up to Heart vs Lungs 2.0