Okey ‘Bull’ Menakaya will take part in the Harefield 5k Fun Run on Sunday just 39 days after he had his Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) removed.

In May 2017, Okey ‘Bull’ Menakaya got a case of severe hiccups. He went to the doctors to undergo further tests but was becoming weaker and weaker so wife Edna took him to A&E. At A&E the doctors discovered that Bull’s health issues related to his heart. He was later diagnosed with Cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart, which has been induced by a viral infection and was now causing heart failure.

Bull was immediately put on the urgent transplant list, however his heart continued to deteriorate and he was told he would need a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) – sometimes used as a bridge to transplant, or he wouldn't survive beyond two months.

After being admitted to Harefield Hospital in July 2017, Bull received a successful surgery in November and was discharged in January 2018. But the following November, Bull suffered from complications, including multiple strokes and infections and his stay in hospital was extended for longer.

Amazingly, In February doctors at Harefield found that Bull’s heart had recovered by itself and would in fact be able to work on its own and just weeks ago, he had his LVAD removed.

Bull was discharged from Harefield Hospital two weeks ago and is doing very well. To say thank you, over 20 of his friends and family have come together to enter a team into the Harefield Fun Run to raise money for Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals Charity. So far, they’ve raised over £1,000.

Bull’s wife Edna Onwuka says, “this hospital saved Bull’s life and we’ll do whatever we can to support the work that’s going on here”.

The 38th annual Harefield Fun Run & Family Day will take place on 8 September in the grounds of Harefield Hospital. Those joining will run, jog or walk the 5km course or have the option of doubling round to complete the 10K. For those who aren’t taking part in the run there will be live entertainment, fantastic food and arts and crafts stalls to enjoy.

Black, Asian and minority ethnic organ donation

NHS Blood and Transplant reports that more donors from black, Asian and minority ethnic groups are urgently needed to address an increase in patients from the same communities dying whilst waiting for an organ transplant.

One in five people who died on the Transplant Waiting List last year were from a black, Asian or ethnic minority background.

Ethnicity matters in organ donation because people from black and Asian communities are more likely to develop conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes than white people. This makes them more likely to need a transplant. Blood and tissue types need to match for a successful transplant and although many black and Asian patients are able to receive a transplant from a white donor, for many the best match will come from a donor from the same ethnic background.

For more information on the Harefield Fun Run & Family Day, visit rbhcharity.org/funrun.

Visit the team's fundraising page here