On Sunday the 25th of June Urvashi, Ishan and I will take part in the Grand Canal Challenge walkathon in support of Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals - a charity that is very close to our heart. The funds we raise will go towards supporting the health and welfare of patients by providing state-of-the-art equipment and new facilities, as well as supporting cutting-edge research into heart and lung conditions.

Harefield Hospital, famous for heart and lung transplants and artificial hearts, has a special place in the heart of my family. My wife Urvashi and her family became good friends with one of Harefield's pioneering cardiothoracic surgeons after he carried out successful lung surgery on a close family member nearly forty years ago. Later, the same surgeon very likely saved Urvashi's life when she was 18 with a pneumonia diagnosis that had not been detected by several other doctors she had been seen by. One of the current cardiothoracic surgeons at Harefield who will be walking with us is also a very good friend of Urvashi and I, and the Head of Studies at Ishan's school has been raising funds for Harefield for quite some time. She has successfully signed up us and many dozens of parents and children at the school to participate in this walk!

Terranova's international family also has close ties with Harefield Hospital. Considered to be the world's leading transplant surgeon, Sir Magdi Jacoub, was responsible for Harefield's reputation as a global leader for heart and lung disease. Yianna Levanti, 53, the aunt of Maria Bariami (marketing manager of Terranova's partner in Greece) received a heart transplant from Sir Magdi's at Harefield in 1989. And after 28 years, Yianna is Greece's longest surviving heart transplant patient and is president of the Greek Transplanted Patients Foundation. She wrote the following testimonial for me to use for our fundraising efforts with the walkathon (thank you Yianna!!!).

"Summer of 1988: after a “pneumonia” in the Intensive Care Unit of the Greek hospital I have 5 cardiac arrests. It’s the first time in my life I hear the word “transplantation”.
September 1988: I depart for London. After the medical examination my doctors, Sir Magdi Yacoub and Dr. Stergios Theodoropoulos, confirm that transplantation is the only solution.
18 February 1989: 5 months waiting in the matching organ list and the big day has arrived… we are notified in the night that the “precious life gift” is found in Old Court Hospital. Late in the midnight the surgery lasts 2 hours. In the noon I am transferred to Harefield Hospital where I stay for 18 days; the most fearful and at the same time hopeful days of my life.
Since that day… 28 years now, there is not even a day passing by without thanking God for the generosity of the family of the 17-years-old girl and the devotion of my doctors and nurses in Harefield, who made this “science fiction” transplantation scenario come true!"

My family and the wider Terranova family feel a special gratitude towards Harefield Hospital and we would all be sincerely grateful to you for any donation you are able to make to our upcoming walkathon in support of this amazing hospital and its amazing team of doctors, nurses and volunteers. Thank you for your kindness and generosity! Stephen Terrass