Catch up with part 1 of Gary’s remarkable story - click here

I had grown up, got married and had two lovely – and healthy – children. However, between 1985 and 1987, I suffered several bouts of atrial fibrillation (abnormal heart rhythm). I had numerous procedures to correct the rhythm, but finally I asked about cardiac ablation therapy, which was a fairly new procedure at that time. I finally had the ablation performed in 1987, and all was ok.

In 2009, having trained for around six months, I rode in the London to Brighton bike ride… on a tricycle! It was the pinnacle of my "sporting prowess" and I remember crossing the finishing line, on Brighton seafront, in tears. I never dreamed as a youngster that I would ever manage such a feat. It felt great.

However, during the next couple of years I noticed that my ability to exercise was gradually diminishing. I put this down to natural ageing but when I discussed it with the cardiologists (not at Royal Brompton, I might add), they simply said, "Gary, we are plumbers and you need builders and electricians to sort out your problems"!

I was referred to the Adult Congenital Heart Disease (ACHD) unit at Royal Brompton & Harefield Trust in 2011. I saw Dr Konstantinos Dimopoulos and posed the simple question, "Is this as good as it gets"? His answer was, "It depends".

So in April 2012, I had my third open-heart surgery, to reconstruct the pulmonary valve. I pulled through and recovered from the surgery very well and very quickly, helped, no end by the ministrations of the fabulous staff at Royal Brompton. I remember when I came back for my six-week check-up. I was asked if I had managed to walk a mile yet, to which I answered that I had completed a four and a half mile walk just the previous Saturday. The staff were shocked but delighted.

In 2013, I and a small team, comprising of my daughter, my future son-in-law and his friend, took part in the gruelling 100km London to Brighton Trek, raising around £4,500 for research into heart disease. Just two of us, my daughter and myself, managed to cross the finish line, the others having to drop out through injuries to knees and feet, and the elation I felt in completing the challenge was even greater than that I had experienced after the London to Brighton bike ride, four years earlier. The surgical staff at Royal Brompton had done a wonderful job... and I was the proof.

I remain under the care of the Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals ACHD team to this day. I recently had my annual check-up and was given a clean bill of heart health. I am a firm believer in retaining the congenital heart disease and ACHD service at the Brompton and was delighted that NHS England finally saw sense. Without these teams of experts, who truly offer a one-stop service from (pre)cradle to late senior life, I and hundreds, possibly thousands, of patients wouldn't be here today, leading fulfilling lives. I have tried but I truly cannot express my thanks for their support and hope that the service continues for a very long time to come.

Regards, Gary Glazerman