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Reporter leading a "normal life" after transplant

A reporter has told how he was saved by a heart transplant that has allowed him to resume a completely normal life.

Martin Barsby spoke out about his experience to add support to the East Anglian Daily Time’s Sign for Life campaign, which is urging more people to register as organ donors.

Martin, (32), now health correspondent at the Eastern Daily Press, was just 21 when he collapsed with a flu virus which caused his heart to double in size.

He was told he only had a 50 per cent chance of surviving six months and a transplant was his only hope.

He said: “Apparently it was a one in three million chance of it happening. I guess I was the chosen one.

“My heart was only functioning at 20 per cent efficiency and it was getting worse.”

Within an hour of learning the news, a new heart had been found for Martin and he underwent a life-saving five-hour operation.

Martin said: “I didn’t really have a choice. We were never given any false hope. They told it straight, exactly how it was. That is exactly what you need to hear.”

The surgery was a success and although he still has to take 20 tablets every day to stop his body rejecting the organ, he is in near-perfect health.

He said: “I can’t think of anything in which I’m restricted. The operation has given me my life back.”

Now he is lending his support to the EADT’s campaign in the hope that it will help others like him.

He said: “Anything that promotes carrying donor cards is definitely to be praised. People think it won’t ever happen to them but I’m living proof it can.

“I didn’t carry a donor card at that time in my life but it’s a good job someone did otherwise I wouldn’t be here now.”

Martin’s operation hasn’t affected his career in newspapers. He has risen through the ranks of the regional press and has previously worked for the Haverhill Echo, Bury Free Press, Suffolk Free Press and East Anglian Daily Times.

Do you have a story about the regional press? Ring 0116 227 3122/3121, or
e-mail pastill@nep.co.uk