A former national cycling champion who underwent a life-saving heart transplant operation before Christmas is hoping to be victorious when he competes in the Gateshead/Newcastle British Transplant Games at the end of July.
North Seaton-based Mick Bradshaw will participate in two bicycle races – an individual time trial covering five kilometres as well as a 12-kilometre road race.
And the former electrical fitter is targeting a medal.
North Shields-born Bradshaw had a transplant at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle at the beginning of December last year.
“You are supposed to wait six months before competing so I have just slipped in under the wire,” said the 64-year-old.
“My idea was to train hard to get myself fit because after lying in bed for four months you lose all muscle – and your legs are like spiders when you come out of hospital.
“You can hardly walk and have to start afresh.
“My ultimate aim, and dream, is to try and win a medal so I can send it to the heart donor’s family with a letter.
“When you are in for a transplant, there is a huge team looking after you, but you don’t know where the donor heart has come from and I can’t thank everyone enough.
“I really believe it is important for people to donate their organs because it can save so many lives.”
Bradshaw had a highly successful and distinguished earlier career when he posted the fastest time in the country as a cyclist.
He added: “I was national 50 miles champion in 1988, the first one from the north east for over 50 years, and I felt very proud.
“I have got a sack full of medals after winning between 250 to 300 races all over the country.
“It’s a habit which is hard to break, and consequently although I will be trying to enjoy the forthcoming games, I very much want to emerge as a winner.”