Fundraising: Me and my charity

John Fisher runs his own DJ agency in Middlesex. He became a fundraiser for the British Heart Foundation shortly after his heart transplant in 2000, when he realised that many of the resources needed for his operation had been paid for by the charity.

Why did you choose BHF?

I wanted to give something back after I had a heart transplant because I read that half of those who need one die while on the waiting list or during the operation. So I did a bit of research and found out that a lot of the equipment used during my operation had been funded by the British Heart Foundation. I could actually find the name of the charity behind almost everything. For example, it supports UK Transplant, the organisation that provided the organ, and the surgeon, Sir Magdi Yacoub, is its chair.

What do you do to support them? The first thing I did was a sponsored three-mile walk. Then I decided take part in the London to Brighton bike ride in 2001, which was a real achievement given that before my operation I could not walk up the stairs at home without resting halfway. Even lifting my arm when shaving was tiring. I raised £8,000, but I wanted to get more media attention so I did the London Marathon a year later. It worked because running a marathon following a heart transplant was almost unheard of.

I did a few BBC interviews that were followed up in the papers. I raised £15,000 that time and have run three other marathons since. But somehow I felt that people got used to seeing me run marathons so I did the London Triathlon, which no one who had had a heart transplant had ever done.

Recently I went on a bike ride from George Town to Cape Town in South Africa, where the first heart transplant took place. I raised £5,000.

Do you volunteer your time too? I have done a few interviews on GMTV and the BBC to raise awareness of the British Heart Foundation.

Do you support other charities? Not really, because the British Heart Foundation supports other charities, such as UK Transplant. I have started my own charity, To Transplant and Beyond, which is funded by the BHF.

The aim is to support the families of people who undergo heart transplants.

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