Milestone for Wakefield heart transplant survivor

Giles McVicar
Giles McVicar

A FATHER-of-two from Wakefield who wasn’t expected to survive a heart transplant as a teenager is today celebrating the 25th anniversary of the life saving procedure.

Giles McVicar, 42, of Sandal, underwent a heart transplant on January 14 1990 at the former Killingbeck Hospital in Leeds.

After that heart failed, he had a second successful heart transplant at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital and has battled cancer.

Mr McVicar is urging people who would be willing to accept a donated organ, to save their own or a loved one’s life, to sign up to be a donor and to tell their families about their wishes.

He fell seriously ill after being struck down by a viral myocarditis – a virus which attacked his heart muscle – when he was 17-years-old.

A heart donated from a man in his sixties was transplanted successfully during a 12-hour operation at Killingbeck to save Mr McVicar’s life.

Arteries in the transplanted heart later started to narrow and fail and Mr McVicar underwent a second transplant in Newcastle when he was 26 in January 1999.

The new heart was from a younger man and Mr McVicar is able to lead an active life. He is set to compete at golf and badminton at the Westfield Health British Transplant Games in the north east this summer.

Mr McVicar was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer in 1992, but has successfully battled the disease and has been clear of cancer since his last chemotherapy treatment in 2011.

He said: “There is a shortage of donated organs, but if more families agreed to donate a loved one’s organs, more people would get the transplants they need.” To register on the NHS organ donor register, call 0300 123 23 23 or go to