Health@Google presents: English Joe

Uploaded by AtGoogleTalks on 09.09.2011

>> (Holly): For those of you that don't know me, my name
is Holly Kuzmer. I look after Google's Optimize Your Life Program across and near. I do this
spiel at the start of every session so I am not going to bore you by going into it. Suffice
to say if you would like more information go/oyl. If you would like to be a wellness
champion please email me at [email protected]. So I am delighted to welcome you to the second
in our mini-inspiration series The July. We actually have our first speaker here again,
so if you didn't have enough questions the last time you can go and harass him after
the session. We are delighted to welcome English Joe, Joe Matthews. He is an absolutely superstar,
he has a fascinating story to tell us. And certainly having looked at his website and
having spoken to him to date I know that he is going to keep us all quite enthralled.
As a heart transplant patient and an amazing athlete and someone that has achieved quiet
phenomenal things considering. So I am going to invite Joe to come up here. We have got
a few slides that he simply just going to tell his story and then if anyone has any
questions then please feel free to ask them at the end as well. Ok, Joe.
>> English Joe: Cool.
[background noise] I'm not professional so don't expect anything
good. [laughter]
Alright um, I am Joe Matthews. I am from Suffolk in, well England, small fishing town called
Lowestoft. Ever since I was younger really I have been into sports, played rugby since
I was like the age of four. And yeah, that's my story basically. Yeah, so I started playing
rugby when I was four, touch rugby with my dad was my coach, my brother played as well.
Progressed quite swiftly though that to be fair. Got playing for Captain North, I played
for Captain Norfolk from the age of like, I think eleven. I played Captain Norfolk and
I went though and then for a few years. Then I got selected to play for Eastern Counties
when I was fourteen, I think, yeah, fourteen. And yeah, it looked like rugby was going to
be my thing, you know, I was getting along really well with it. Yeah, it was the life
I was going to pursue I guess. Anyway, um, I've got some good family friends that live
in California in America and mum and dad come up to me one day and they said "Well look,
you're going to go to America and spend Christmas over there." And like every rugby guy my age
at the time it has been drilled into us wherever you go you take your rugby boots cause there
is always a rugby team willing to you know, let you join in to train and whatnot. So I
took my rugby boots over there and …oops that's early. Anyway, so I took my rugby boots
over there and basically, yeah, when I got introduced to my uncle, I will call him my
uncle, he is not really my uncle, but a good family friend anyway. Went and played for,
went and trained with one of his teams, the team he used to play for. Anyway they fell
in love with me and they kindly invited me back over the following summer to play seven-a-side
rugby in a few seven-a-side rugby tournaments. Um, so I went back home, worked really hard
and you know got a Saturday job at the time 'cause I was really young. And went over and
played in the seven-a-side rugby tournaments but like at a proper adult level and I was
only fifteen at the time. So went over there played in all these tournaments across California,
did Las Vegas, been like sevens, all big rugby tournaments, you probably ain't got any clue
what that is all about but it is a big deal over there anyway. So I played in these tournaments
and at the end, and at these tournaments they had like these particular university scouts
and everything. And a few of them would come and approach me afterwards and said you know
"What college do you go to? We would like you to come and play for our University."
And um, you know, I turned around and I would say I am on holiday, I am fifteen and I didn't
go to college yet. And they were like, Ok. So they went and spoke to a few guys on my
team and one of the guys on the team happened to be, worked in the international department
at the local college where the rugby team was from. And come up to me and said "Look
Joe, this is something from which could be a possibility. Go back to England and have
a word with your parents, you know, a lot of Universities are showing a great interest
in you. Come out here and you know try and get applied for your Visa. Come out and become
a student so you can work your way and obtain the grades then you know ship on to a University.
But obviously your scholarship would be all paid for."
So that's what I went home and did. So I went home and had to start a Saturday job. I was
a lifeguard at the time so I worked hard when I wasn't at school. I did six forms working
part time. And then at the end of the sixth form year got decent grades but I had applied
for my Visa and I got accepted. So I went over to America to pursue a career in rugby
but to the US Government it was to pursue a career in education so I could get my Visa.
Anyway, um, I am bablin' on a bit. So I went over there and I did really well at school.
One of the things that it said in the Visa is you have to do well in school. If you didn't
do well in school you would get sent back. So I made sure I did well, achieved real high
grades. So basically I was eligible to go to Berkley, you need a high GPA over there
or whatever. So anyway did all these different tournaments and stuff and played in all these
games and all these leagues, at foster team and was playing for and we managed to get
to the national semi-finals. So out of the whole of America we got to the semi-finals.
We lost, we didn't become National Champions, but we got in the semi-finals. So we got second
but of course we playing rugby over there grew more interest from all these people outside
who were like "Who is this Joe Matthews?" or English Joe is what I was called over there.
Um, being English and my name Joe. [laughter] Anyway, um, so they come up and they said
"Look we would really like, we are really interested in you at San Francisco Golden
Gate," which is like the top premier ship side say, in the country. I have the University
of Berkley really interested, the University of Marigo basically they were fighting over
me. And I had the University saying "Come to our University. No, come to our University.
Well, if you come to our University we will give you a Dodge Ram," or you know offer me
all these cars and all.
Went back in Christmas of '05, so 2005 in Christmas went back. I had developed myself
as a great athlete, I was really big, not fat or anything, I was really big. You know
I shot up, I filled out, I was a decent sized rugby player, like someone you didn't want
to mess with on the field I guess. Anyway, um I went back and showed off basically to
my family. "Look what I have made myself into. Look what all these different colleges and
professional teams are offering me. Basically told my mum and dad, well not just told them,
but basically said you know, sat down with them and talked. I said I got this team interested,
I got this professional club interested, looks like I have made it as a rugby player. That's
going to be my career now. You know have to worry about me anymore, I have made it. Anyway,
um, so that was Christmas '05 and then I went back after New Year. Had New Year with my
family and my friends and everything, went back after New Year and played in all these
tournaments again, um, all these games, all these league games doing really well. Looked
like I was going to finish that season out then move up and go into whoever was interested.
And in February, um, a couple of games I started feeling quite breathless and like I wasn't
the fastest on a loose ball on the ground. I was always like the second one there and
it wasn't like me, I was always the first one there. And my coach could notice and we
were playing against Berkley in a National League game and seventy minutes into that
game I was over on my hands and knees basically gasping for air. So my coach took me off and
said "Alright Joe, you have worked hard this game. Come off and rest. We don't need you,
we won the game. You just rest for ten minutes until the end." At the end of the game felt
fine so I sat down and had done nothing for ten minutes. Went to the bar afterwards, had
a few beers with everyone, you know everything like normal. My uncle, I call him my uncle,
the people I was living with at the time had decided to go on Holiday. So they weren't
at home so I was all home alone, went home and managed to sit in the hot tub and just
chill out and recover after a hard game of rugby. Anyway went home sat in the hot tub
felt fine, went up, um got out of the hot tub, sat up and I coughed a bit. So I thought
I would give mum and dad a call, um, they would be up now. I would give mum and dad
a call and just to tell them how I am feeling. I text Rod and Kelly, who I was living with,
and just told them what the situation was and mum said make sure you go to the doctors
tomorrow morning, you know being mum. And I thought well I've only got a cold, don't
worry about it.
Anyway didn't go to the doctors the next day and um, actually went surfing I think. Felt
fine, did the gym. I used to do this thing called CrossFit, which is like a big military-based
like workout plan with all the team. So I did that on Tuesday, trained Tuesday night
with the rugby team. Wednesday, my mate come and knocked at me door, kind of scared [inaudible]
tried to make it to college [inaudible] reached the park at the sports side of campus. There
was a set of stairs that went over onto the academic side. We used to race each other
up the stairs and I would always come first. Got to around the top of the stairs and he
was miles in front of me and again I am crying out like an old woman.
[huffing sound] He is like "Ah, man up, man up girl" stuff
like that. [laughs]
Anyway I said do you mind if we go to the college doctor after we have been through
our first class. Thinking, I am in America, they are bound to give me something. They
got some kind of tablet for every type of you name it; they got a tablet for it. So
I went to the doctor afterwards, she did the general stethoscope of my heart, my lungs
and everything. Scared the hell out of her. Um and she told me to go straight to the local
hospital to have a chest x-ray. She phoned ahead to let them know I was coming. Um, didn't
go straight there, stopped off to have a sandwich, I had my mobile phone going off. "Joe why
aren't you there? I told you to go straight there. You told me you'd go straight there."
Um, I only just stopped off for a sandwich, I'm hungry.
[laughs] Went there
[laughs] I think about an hour later I get a phone
call back at home. Missed the phone call, the house phone then goes off and I have got
the college doctor on the phone again basically saying "Joe you need to get to Santa Cruz
Hospital ASAP. I don't want to scare you or anything but you got something. Something
is up and I need you to get there straight away." I thought well you are not scaring
me as such but I am feeling a bit on edge now 'cause you have showed me that you are
in a bit of a panic and everything. She said "Well, you need someone to drive you there,
you can't drive yourself cause you will probably be there over night." So my girlfriend at
the time she drove me there and she said "I've called ahead to let them know that you are
coming." I said "Well, would you mind just telling me what is going on now?" and she
said "Well, you have got an enlarged heart and a load of fluid on the lungs." Well fluid
on the lungs I thought, well I am not the first person to have fluid on the lungs, um
take something for that, get rid of it. Enlarged heart, I thought well it's common in athletes
anyways 'cause they are always working out; they are always doing physical activity. So
their hearts are generally a bit bigger then someone that doesn't play sports or whatnot.
Anyway, so I went to Dominican. Walked into this massive hospital, there's all these patients
sitting there and they are like waiting to see someone. I had a doctor there waiting
for me with a clipboard "Joe Matthews?" as I walked in I was like looking around since
I didn't know the place. I was like "Yeah," and was like "Come with me," and they took
me and my girlfriend at the time, they took me straight to a separate room so they could
check me out.
So basically I had all these tests. I had all these different things they were testing
me on and basically I had an enlarged heart and they couldn't reduce the swelling of it.
So I had all these picc lines in me and, bear in mind my mum and dad are in England and
the people I am living with, that I call family, are on Holiday, high in the Alps doing whatever.
And there is me in a bed. What's going on? One minute feeling really fine, fit and everything.
The next minute being told you can't do anything you just have to lay here and wait until we
tell you what's up. So they said that, I remember, well if I am honest I can't really remember
a great deal of it cause I will um, tell you the story later. But um, basically I remember
waking up there and my dad being at the end of the bed and I'm thinking, um you were in
England which is quite a whiles away. Um you know, from when I last remembered. And I wake
up my dad's at the end of the bed and I am like "What are you doing here?" and my uncle
and aunt have come off their Holiday and they are at the end of the bed. I'm like "What
are you guys doing here? I'm fine I only have a cold I think." And they are like "Well,
nothings up Joe. We just came in and we wanted to, we heard you were in the hospital and
we just wanted to check up on you." My dad was like "Oh I had extra time off work." 'Cause
my mum and dad were meant to come out and see me before, in a bit later anyway, so he
said "I got some extra time off work so I come out sooner and I will meet your mum and
your brother here." So basically I got admitted into Santa Cruz Hospital. Told that I had
an enlarged heart and was taken to the cardiac ward, my dad was there like I said and basically
all these tests were going on and they were talking behind my back. They weren't telling
my anything, not telling my dad anything, doing all these discussion. I had people coming
in and out of my room looking at me and the clip board and I was like "What the hell is
going on?" They are walking out, leaving, and going to see someone else, going to talk
to someone else. Then more persons coming in with a clip board, ask me a few questions,
heading out and then basically [laughs] I said basically a lot, didn't I?
Anyway and then Jim Glancy, the cardiologist there, who was my cardiologist at the time
come in and he just did a few more tests. I said "Look, do you mind just stopping and
just telling me what is going on? I know I am in young in America, but in England I would
know what was going on a few days ago. Just treat me like an adult now and I am asking
you to tell me what is up." So he shut the door and he basically sat on the end of my
bed and um, with my dad and basically told me that I had an enlarged heart and I had
a very strong arrhythmia so my heart wasn't beating
[pounds fist into hand] normal like it was supposed to, it was like
kind of spasming in and out and going all over the place. I would have to have a defibrillator
fitted which was a little device that fits in underneath your collar bone and which would
shock my heart every time that it goes out of control and it would make it back into
that steady rhythm. Um, so he told me that, so basically he said that there is one side
effect, you can't do any physical activity. Well you know before, it was quite emotional
for me, um before I had made it as a rugby playing and my career had just been [ swishing
sound] you know whipped clear. Anyway he told me that and he said like we can't, we are
not going to do the operation here; we want to transfer you to Stanford. Which is like
the best place in the whole world for cardiology, you know you will be in better care there.
Which before all this was happening to me I didn't really give it, I couldn't really
care, to be honest. I just thought well that is my life over. Um, went to Stanford and
my mum and my brother are there, again this is all kind of faint. Went into the operation
to have this defibrillator fitted, it was meant to take like an hour and a half to two
hours. And two hours and twenty minutes later my mum was sitting, mum and dad was sitting
outside with my brother and they um alarms go off and everything. At the end of the operation
they slow your heart down to test the defibrillator and my heart didn't respond to the defibrillator.
Um, I am getting all emotional, well anyway. My heart didn't respond to the defibrillator
and defibrillator worked; my heart was that weak and didn't respond and I cardiac arrested,
I was like clinically dead for like five and a half minutes. So um, mum and dad are in
wrecks and it is a relief that I didn't have a clue what was going on.
[audience laughs] Um, yeah so, next thing I remember is waking
up in intensive care and going to sit up, but can't sit up. Skip this one. Can't sit
up basically 'cause um you see this thing here? [points at photo] that's the big machine,
it is about this big, there's pipes going from in and leading all the way along and
going into me and basically pumping my heart for me. Um, you can see it about there. Anyway,
um, so this machine comes out and it is pumping my heart, so I wake up and I can't sit up
so I look and I see this machine and I see like blood flowing down one and spinning around
and flowing up the other. Well I kind of panic a bit, which I regret 'cause I made my mum
nearly have a heart attach to be fair. [laughs]
So I panic a bit, I am trying to rip the pipes out of my, they are in me, strapped to me,
and I am trying to rip them out. I have all these IV lines and picc lines in me and I
am trying to rip everything out. I have got cameras up my nose and a load of tubes and
everything and I am trying to rip all them out. So if I am painting a bad picture I am
just trying to set the scene [laughter]. So I am ripping all this stuff out, basically
I am being a complete, excuse my French, but an asshole to everyone. Um and my brother,
my dad and a few other doctors are basically holding me down. I'm tied down to the bed,
again I can remember the little things, to me if just seems like a bad dream. I can't
remember everything. Next thing I remember waking up in the cardiac ward and the doctor,
um, the doctor standing over me Bobby Robbins, who I have mentioned before. Anyway, Bobby
Robbins is standing there and he basically told me I've got two choices. I have a heart
transplant or I don't and I eventually die. Which I kind of thought was a bit stupid you
know, why would I want to die? But in America you have to do what all the Americans do,
you have to ask cause the law suits and stuff. Like my family could sue if I had the transplant
and I didn't really want it or something like that. So I basically say "Yes, I want the
heart transplant." I was then asked, right, you need to be set. You can't be completely
weak when you have your transplant so you need to get your fitness back and that's why,
on this slide here I'm on this, my dad, I wake up the next morning, sorry if I am going
on. I wake up one morning and there is an exercise bike in my room. I'm like, my dad
is at the end of my bed or sitting beside me, [points to slide of picture] he had spoken
to this professor Dr. Robins and basically said "would you mind if we get Joe an exercise
bike? He will be a lot fitter for the transplant if you put him on that." You know and Bobby
Robbins thought well he has just had cardiac arrest, he has the machine pumping his heart
and that little thing went off in his head and he thought, well he's got the machine
pumping his heart so he doesn’t really need to pump his heart himself. He is quite alright
to go on the exercise bike. So for a week I went on this exercise bike four times a
day, I had ankle weights on, and I had like these wrist grip things. Four times a day
I was on this exercise bike trying to get fit for this, so I was ready to have a transplant.
I'd go for walks, but when I wanted to go for walks, that meant that this big thing
here [points to slide of picture] needs to come with me. And that meant one of the nurses
having to walk around and follow me basically. So I could only walk for like five minutes
'cause they wouldn't allow, not 'cause I wasn't physically able to, but because the nurses
couldn't physically push this thing around. My mum and dad weren't allowed to touch this
piece of equipment. So I would like walk around the ward for like five minutes and I would
keep up I would go back and I would rest, I would be like "I want to go for another
walk." And the nurse would be like really, really, you know, that's not happening. We
are not doing any more today. Anyway so I kicked up a bit of a fuss, I was
a bit of a pain to be honest, but I kept up a bit of a fuss, enough pace to have a nurse,
the person in charge of the machine. That person to come out from whatever she was doing
to my room to teach my mum and dad how to operate this machine if the power goes. So
then my mum and dad could then push this machine for, cause my dad is quite a big guy, push
this machine wherever I wanted to go I could walk and my dad could push it. Um, so it's
on a battery and the battery lasts I think four hours, but just in case it doesn’t,
there is a pump. And this nurse is basically sat down beside my bed, my mum and dad are
around, and we like unplug it, it's running on this battery, I need to show you how to
operate it if it was to switch off. So she switches off this machine, she's got this
pump and she is like sitting there and pumping this pump for my heart basically in her hand.
Showing my mum and dad and she's like "Right now it's your go." And she passes it over
to my dad and he was like pumping it and then passes it to my mom and at this point she
is like shaking and everything. She gets the pump and, no way am I lying, she drops the
pump and my heart goes in my mouth. I am like "OHHH!" I'm holding my breath thinking what
is going to happen now. The nurse who was showing my mum and dad was like "If that happens
you just stamp on it like this" [audience laughs] And then she switched it back on and
from that point on I didn't allow my mum to operate that machine or anything it was just
my dad. Anyway um, cut a long story short. That happened, I got fit and I was able to
have a heart transplant. Um April 2nd, I got a phone call, had all these nurses in, ask
me a lot of this stuff, a lot of people coming in my room like at five in the morning "We
want your blood, we want to do more test." And I was like "Just leave me alone." And
I wanted to watch a movie, so I sat down with my mum and watched Forest Gump, I think was
one of the DVD I could have chosen, choosed, I chose. So anyway I watched Forest Gump and
at the end of Forest Gump a leaf falls from the tree and no word of a lie, the phone rang
and I though "right, joked with her, it's probably my heart" and mum went outside to
listen to the nurse, nurse looked over at my mom and was like "It's Joe's heart." And
come in and room and told me I had a heart and I was like ecstatic "Yes, I got a heart!"
They said right it is going to be in here in like six hours, no more than like six hours.
We need to clean you completely, so they did the whole iodine stuff, cleaned me and made
me all sterile for the operation. Two AM, or like one AM I went down to the theater
to have the transplant.
The eve, don't know if you ever heard of a guy called Dr. Norman Shumway, he was the
first guy to ever perform a heart transplant in America. He is from Stanford, he died of
cancer earlier that year and they had a memorial on April 2nd in the evening. Um, which all
these doctors who worked at Stanford and worshipped this guy were meant to be going to, but for
some reason I had a heart come for me and they couldn't go to this thing and they had
to perform you know, my transplant. So um, went down, don't really remember too much.
Just remember having Bob Marley on in my iPod or something like that, saying goodbye to
mum and dad and saying that "I will see you when I get out" and having this transplant.
Come out of the transplant, seven hours later, went alright and they treated me really, really
good. And I think, I just jumped, going on a bit, um. Had the transplant, ICU, was in
there ten days and was out back on the cardiac ward. Earlier before I went down for the transplant
and I was waiting for the heart and some guy had come in and me being all competitive I
wanted to, you know, know who was the fastest person out of the hospital and stuff like
that, who's had the heart transplant, what's he done since, what's possible. So I thought
when I got told I was going to have a heart transplant I thought, dang, my life is over.
That's me, wheelchair bound; stupid to think that but at the time I never been familiar
with transplants. I was nineteen and you know you don’t expect a nineteen year old to
have to have a heart transplant. You think of old people and pensioners and anyway, they
said we have this guy he has had a transplant and six months later he is back skiing again.
I'm thinking well all right, he is actually coming in for a visit. Do you mind bringing
him down and asking him if he would come and have a chat with me please, um he basically
came in and said, well he is all cocky and said "Yeah, I had a transplant, I was out
of the hospital within I think two months . I was back skiing six months later. I'm
the fastest there is and the fastest there every well be." Well, the competitive nature
in me [snaps fingers]
and I was , alright "That's great. I really appreciate you coming down here. Just before
you go, [inaudible] he stopped and all your records are now going to be broken, guaranteed."
[laughs] Which I didn't have no control over, something
could have gone wrong in the operation and it could have been slumped out. Anyways so
at the transplant, ten days later I was out of intensive care and back on the cardiac
ward. And from that point on I was like, right, my goal is to get out of the hospital as quick
as possible.
A week later, I leave the hospital, so I had just had a heart transplant. I think he was
in there a month he said to me, I was in and out of there a week later, I was moved from
cardiac ward over to the home apartments which is like a block of apartments for patients
who had to go back regularly for tests and stuff. Moved out of the hospital to these
home apartments, was in the home apartments for a month and then after that was given
the all clear to go back and get on with my life. Um, I had little things happen, so I
would go back every day for tests. Before that I went back they were like "Joe you need
to start walking a little bit now. Stop using the little golf buggies to get to the hospital."
I'm like "There's golf buggies?" [laughs]
Basically, I have walked everywhere from when I left the hospital I never used a lift, they
had all these lifts. I was like on the fifth floor and I walked to the hospital everyday
with my mum and dad. And mum would be like "Can't we just get in the lift?" and I would
look at my dad and my dad is like "You want to take the stairs?" and I was like "Yeah,
Yeah." So we took the stairs every day, so anyways, I am having this appointment the
fourth day in and this person I'm seeing goes "Ok we need to start making you walk a bit."
And I laugh and he looked at me and is like "What is so funny?" and I looked at my dad
and I laughed at him and my dad is kind of like laughing and they go "What's so funny?"
and I go "Start walking a bit, what do you mean by a bit?" and he's like "Well, you need
to start walking, you know like to the hospital and everything." I'm like "Well me and my
dad yesterday and my brother we walked around the entire campus." Well, I don't know if
you know how big Stanford is but I think the circumference is like eight miles or something
stupid like that. So throughout the day we got up really early and throughout the day
I was just like walking around and different places at Stanford. And he was like "Really?"
and laughed cause he thought I was joking. And I said "Seriously, here is a picture of
me there and a picture of me there." And he was like "Wow, ok, well excuse me a second."
And he walked out, went and told a few other people, like Sharon Hunt come in. She is like
the best cardiologist there is in the world. Um, "Joe, I want you to be my patient now."
So now I had like [laughs] I went ok, um. "We need to do a few more tests, physio tests
etc." Went to do the physio tests, um, they score you on a chart from like 1-10. I was
like scoring like 30, so they couldn't actually physically write down my score on the chart.
Um, yeah, I was scoring off the charts and everything they asked me to do I would look
at them and think "Is that it?" and do it.
My friends, when I was in the hospital, cause the bottom line of my insurance, cause I had
top insurance cause I was playing rugby. The bottom line of my insurance policy basically
said Joe, if you would require a heart transplant, we would not pay for, or an organ transplant,
we would not pay for the transportation of the heart. Which in an organ transplant is
kind of the most important thing, you know to get the organ from the donor to the recipient.
So my friends raised money, and did like marathons and all these fundraising events. And I said
to them on the bed, when they were doing it, you know "Thanks very much, I will do it with
you next year." And the nurses heard me and the doctors heard me and they come up to me
afterwards and said "Joe don't be stupid. Set realistic goals. You won't be able to
do anything like that for another couple of years." There was this wharf to wharf event,
which I think is like 10k in Santa Cruz, which is where you jog from one pier to the other
pier and a few friends were doing it. So I said "I'll do it with you." And they went
"You sure?" and I went "Yeah, I will do it with you." And I told the doctors about this
and they were saying "No Joe, don't you dare." Anyway, "Don't be stupid" cause I was out
of the hospitals responsibility and I could do what I wanted. And I felt physically fine
with myself and I go and so I did it. Had a checkup like a week later, walked into the
room with the medal around my neck. [laughs]
I have done this, I have done that. And they were just gobsmacked and I said "Look, I am
going to be doing that marathon, I'll do the half marathon like my friends did." Did the
half marathon, um, in training for the London Marathon, so a year later, just over a year
later, so I think April 3rd was the transplant, mid-April was the London marathon the following
year. I had moved back to England, I have done this half marathon with my friends like
I told them I would. In training for the full London marathon and I have completed the London
marathon, did it in something stupid like five hours or nothing special. But just to
say I completed it and proved to all the doctors, "Hey, there is no limits here as long as I
am feeling fine."
It's my heart now, I don't look at my heart like it is someone else's heart. I look at
it like it is mine, I can do what I want, you know, as long as I feel fine I will go
ahead and do it. So I did this London marathon and I was like, alright, I need to set up
a website so people who are in the shoes I was in can see that, you know, a physical
life and the benefits of an organ transplant and what you can do afterwards. So um I set
up being you know English and the name Joe and that was what everyone called
me over there. Set up and I now post, skip that slide, and I now post
basically everything that I do onto this website. So some little, some guy could be in bed,
some women could be in bed needing a lifesaving transplant and they can go on there and they
can go "Alright, this is actually possible. It is not as bad as what it sounds." Um, since
the transplant, I have done the London marathon twice. I've always been competitive and was
told I could never play rugby. So I took up sprinting in the British Transplant Games
and took Gold in all the events I entered in and got selected to represent Great Britain
in the World Transplant Games which were in Australia in 2009. Didn't take Gold in everything,
um which I was slightly disappointed about but then at the time, but then at the time
I found out that I was the only guy, or the only athlete on the track that actually had
a heart transplant. Everyone else had a kidney transplant, so I was thinking, so there is
all these sprinting things. So like the 100 meter sprint for example, when someone lines
up for the race, their heart and their brain is telling their heart "You are now going
to run 100 meters" so the heart naturally starts beating faster. My, 'cause this is
a foreign heart, there is no brain endings, there is no nerves going from my heart to
my brain. So when I run 100 meters, when my muscles start demanding more blood, that's
when my heart starts beating faster cause my brain isn't in communication with it. So
I like the first 50 to 60 meters everyone is like [whistles] the last 40, 45 meters
I just start, I power through and I get past everyone. But there was some fast guys there
so I only got bronze. Um and I was a bit, I was a bit, I was really annoyed so at the
400 relay, the 4 x 400 relay and I took the baton on third I think, no second. And the
person who ran before didn't give me much hope. Um I receive the baton and there was
like four other runners in front of my like 100 meters around. And because of the heart,
with the 400 meter you don’t go flat out straight away, you kind of build yourself
up into it. When I get to like 200 meters my heart is like "Oh, you are running here.
We will start beating a bit faster." So you gradually put on the pace a bit and timed
to meet is in, I went past everyone and then I ran and finished with a good thirty second
lead on the people behind me. So we got round, and so I got my Gold. It was a team event
but you know I got a Gold medal in the World Games. So after that I did the British Games
again, the last couple of years did it in Bath. Got selected to represent Great Britain
again in Sweden. Got given the all clear at the same time to play rugby again. So I was
like "Right, I am back to playing, I am allowed to play rugby again. The game I love." And
I am doing that now, I don’t care so much about the athletics, I am going to train and
I want to get good at rugby.
So I went back training with rugby, joined the local team. And we moved up to, I live
in Bradford now, North Nottinghamshire, so I work just over in Sheffield which is right
next door to Doncaster. Doncaster Knights have a good rugby team. So I thought alright,
I'll pop in and see if I can get trained with 'em. So I am training with Doncaster Phoenix,
which is just like the team just below the Knights. Trained and was playing for their
second team and in the end of this season, just gone, I got called up the last two games
to play for the first team. Um, so it has now gone into pre-season for this year, so
it looks like I got the first team spot. But you know, I gradually worked my way up. Anyways
so I am playing that, so I haven't focused completely on my running so when I told the
Team Managers of the Great Britain team and I am not running anymore I'm just doing rugby.
They were a bit "Well we don't want you to play rugby." and I am like "Well you are not
telling me not to play. I'm playing it whatever you say. The doctors have given me the all
clear to do so, it's the game I love, I'm playing it. End of." But they still want me
on the team. So if I survive the season I guess, like I did this year, I went on to
Sweden this year and end up getting the Silver medal in the 4 x 100. And cause I am not sprint
training anymore and just rugby. I missed out on bronze in every event I did my about
a couple of hundreds of a second or something stupid like that. But you know, um, I'm here,
I'm alive, I'm feeling well, I'm playing rugby which is the game I love again. So you know,
that's pretty much me. I feel I have kind of lost you all but, oh yeah, just trying
to show the benefits of organ donors.
>> Holly: You haven't lost us at all.
>> Audience Male #1: Me. What are your plans for this year?
>> English Joe: Um, well I have got the British Transplant Games in Belfast which is next
week. Um, I will be over there for a week competing. I may have come to a couple of
decisions 'cause I am in the gym a lot with my rugby training and I am not so much doing
all the running and everything. I will do like the relays and I'll do something like
discus or javelin or something which that body strength comes in quite nicely too. You've
got the feeling I will do quite well at that. So I am going to do that in Belfast and I
also got to chatting to the cycle team of the UK. So I have got, I can get on a bike
and I can work hard but I don’t seem to get tired on the bike cause my body weight
is taken off, is supported by the two wheels. So I just stop pedaling when I am a bit tired
and I will start pedaling again. So I am going to take up cycling I think, and do well in
that. So yeah, British Games next week and I think tomorrow I start in a tag rugby tournament
at Doncaster, which isn't contact but it is like tag where you got like two flags on your
hips and you get them ripped off then you tackled. So I start tag rugby tournament tomorrow,
Belfast next week. Um, I snow board so I have been selected to represent Great Britain in
the Winter Transplant Games. I think I am the only snowboarder so that is a few metals
there. [laughs]
Snowboarding in March and then just rugby really. Wherever I feel like going on tours
in America and I am in the middle of arranging my team I play for now. So I have a game with
the team I played for in America. So it's on the up. So I get to see a bit O' the world.
The World Games are in Durbin in South Africa in 2013. So I am looking forward to going
there and you know, fingers crossed, my health will be in great shape like it is now. Keep
eatin' the right foods, doin' what everyone should be doing really. Keepin' healthy and
hopefully I will be there in another couple of years doin' my thing. Anymore?
>> Female Audience #1: Where did your heart, the new heart come from?
>> English Joe: This is getting recorded isn't it? Um, I can't
really say. I can't legally say, so I am not going to say. I do know where it came from
but I am not going to tell you where cause of all the laws and stuff.
>> Female Audience #1: Oh, OK… but its-
>> English Joe They can't expect a nineteen year old that
can't get out of a bed, with internet access, not to have a look on all the old obituary
pages on Google. [laughter]
which is what I did. 'Cause there is different rules, the weather was really bad so I knew
it could only come from a certain direction, and there is only allowed a certain amount,
I think it is like six hours to get from the donor party to the recipient.
>> Female Audience #1: So, basically what you are saying is that
people, while they are healthy, have to say "Yes, I am willing to be an organ donor, or
whether I am not"
>> English Joe: Yep, um, that-
>> Female Audience #1: and then if something happens to that person
it can be donated.
>>English Joe: Exactly, yeah.
>>Female Audience #1: So that is how it works?
>> English Joe Like um, I don't know if you know, who's English
in this room? Alright, on your driver's license you might say you are an organ donor, but
that isn't enough. You need to actually physically go online and register. That is just like
all you, you might be an organ donor, it's not like "Yeah, I will be an organ donor."
So you can go on and there is a link on there and you can sign up to
be a donor, which I hope everyone does. 'Cause if it weren't for the organ I received I would
be here babbling on to you now, so…
>> Holly: Ok, I am going to bring it to a close because of the timing. And Joe, thank
you so much. It was an, I'm sure emotional roller coaster for you. I think for us to,
but it has been an amazing story and amazing to hear you tell it. It is so from the heart
as well. So thank you, you are very Googly. That is the highest compliment that we can
play, can pay to people. I'm sorry. And thank you again for your time.
>> English Joe: Thank you so much.
>> Holly: Thanks guys.