| 7.4°C Dublin

'I'm more energetic since transplant' - Ken starts 21km race

Close

Fitness fan Ken Mulkerrins

Fitness fan Ken Mulkerrins

Fitness fan Ken Mulkerrins

A Dublin fitness fanatic who underwent a life-saving heart transplant is about to embark on a gruelling 21km adventure race for the third time.

Father-of-two Ken Mulkerrins (40) has proved that donor recipients are capable of extraordinary feats after operations.

He will take part in a Quest Adventure Race in Glendalough today which involves a 12km cycle, 8km run and 1km swim.

The Lucan man, who spoke to the Herald in Organ Donor Awareness Week, said that he was always into sport and fitness - despite being born with a congenital heart disease.

As a baby he underwent successful open-heart surgery, which made a huge difference to his childhood and meant he could enjoy sport like his peers.

"I enjoyed a normal, active childhood and was always passionate about sport," he said. "For almost 10 years I competed as a member of the Irish Freestyle Kayaking Team.

"However, in 2001, my health took a nosedive when I was struck down with Weil's disease, a bacteria which I caught from kayaking in the Liffey."

After undergoing a successful operation, Mr Mulkerrins fell ill once again in 2015 - diagnosed with end-stage heart failure.

Bleak

"I was told that I would need a heart transplant. This was a very worrying and bleak time for me and my family as my heart continued to get weaker.

"I was called seven times about a potential donor heart, and seven times it emerged that the heart was incompatible. Finally, on the eighth occasion, we had a match," he said.

Following his operation, the Dubliner says his road to recovery has been incredible, adding: "I feel more energetic now than I ever did in my life."

The Irish Kidney Association has urged people to talk to their families about their organ donation wishes.