The Transplant Association is a recently established charity founded by Kevin Mashford and Emma Osborne, who from personal experience realised that support was needed for those waiting for donor organs and their families. Having heard Kevin speak about his personal experience, we asked him how he finds the time and energy to run a charity as well as raise money through cycling, have a family as well as run his business.
You’ve been through a lot. You have a young family and a job. You’re putting so much energy into cycling and training for a Triathlon. How do you find the time and energy to set up and run The Transplant Association?
When you are passionate about something you find the time. Heart Disease, family and work have always been a tricky act so I guess I’m just used to spinning lots of plates and get on with it!
How did you meet co-founder of the charity, Emma Osborne?
I actually did business with the late Jonathan Osborne many years before either of us needed a transplant. We also have mutual friends. I returned to Newcastle for a clinic appointment one day and popped in to see Emma and Jon, I then became something of a listening and understanding ear for Emma.
What did you and Emma set out to achieve with the Transplant Association?
Get more people to register as organ donors and
Increase psychological support for transplant patients and their families
Many healthy people would struggle with the idea of long distance cycling and a triathlon - what’s your advice to them?
Suck it up buttercup!! No seriously your mind is infinitely stronger than your body. If you keep telling yourself you can’t and won’t you WILL FAIL! Reversing that attitude to ‘can’ and ‘will’, whilst setting goals which include interim milestones, is key.
What plans do you have for the future of the Transplant Association?
- Our website will be the biggest single source of information regarding transplantation. We aim to launch this in May.
- Various fundraisers and a bi-annual physical challenge.
- We want a minimum of 50% of the population registered rather than the 33% currently.
You and Emma believe in the importance of psychological support for those who’ve had organ transplants. What part does state of mind play in the success of a transplant?
As above – EVERYTHING! I have lived my life with an attitude that heart disease will not beat me. It hasn’t, I continue to beat it each day.. Transplant is not a cure and is often referred to by saying you are swapping life limiting disease and complications with another set of complex conditions. The latter is without doubt better, but remaining positive is key. We all have an inner warrior - you must allow it to be free!
If you could could have one wish, what would it be?
That no more babies, children and adults die waiting for transplants
What gets you out of bed on a chilly, grey morning?
Luke (1) Liam (7) Josh (10) and my wife Jo – The same things that got me through waiting in hospital indefinitely for my heart. My boys need a Dad my wife needs her best friend.
To read more about The Transplant Association, you can visit their website here.