The COVID-19 pandemic changed many lives in various ways, but Rob Hodgson and his family could never have imagined the impact it would have on them.
Like thousands of other Australians, Rob contracted COVID-19 in 2020. He was an incredibly fit and healthy 38-year-old at the time, but COVID-19 led to some serious complications for Rob, as he developed dilated cardiomyopathy and subsequent ventricular tachycardia – an abnormal heart rhythm that can be life-threatening. Eventually, the condition of Rob’s heart deteriorated to the point where there was no other option for him but a heart transplant.
“It was a complete shock for me, my wife Amanda and our two boys, now aged 11 and eight. We navigated a fairly traumatic two years of heart events, hospital stays and hoping the medication would work long enough that I wouldn’t die before receiving my gift,” Rob said.
Rob – a prosthetist by trade and cycling and fitness enthusiast by passion – had been incredibly healthy and fit before his diagnosis. However, his deteriorating condition left him mostly inactive, unable to do many things he once cherished so much.
“There was a time that I questioned if I’d ever get back on my beloved bike. Pre-transplant, I was riding 100km+ and the worse my condition got, it was hard to believe I’d ever do it again. The trauma from my episodes and my deteriorating heart condition meant I’d pretty much sit in the same chair day in and day out while I waited for ‘that call’,” Rob said.
It was close to two and a half years after Covid-19 changed his life forever when Rob and his family received ‘that call’. And while the wait for it was arduous, Rob and his family could not have been more grateful when it came.
“Thanks to my donor and their family, here I am again. They paid the biggest sacrifice and gave us the most important gift anyone could ever give. We can never repay them,” said Rob.
“I have a huge amount of gratitude for Rob’s now-perfect heart and how it’s working in his body. The love for his donor grows hugely each day,” Rob’s wife Amanda said.
It has been only a few short months since Rob’s heart transplant, and he and his family have decided to take on a grand gesture to show their gratitude to the family who gave Rob a second chance at life and to raise money to allow for more life-changing transplant research to take place through The Common Good.
On Thursday, March 30, Rob will complete a virtual 50-kilometre fundraising ride from his home in Sydney as part of the Australian Unity Tour de Brisbane.
“This year I’m beyond excited to be riding in the Australian Unity Tour de Brisbane to raise funds for life-changing transplant research. Without this research, I wouldn’t be here today, let alone back on my bike and participating in this incredible event.”
Rob will ride on his trainer in his garage and live-stream this incredibly meaningful pedal online.
On the day, Australian Unity will also match every donation dollar for dollar up to $10,000.
The funds raised from this year’s Australian Unity Tour de Brisbane will help to continue research into organ transplants and related conditions like heart disease, lung disease, and ICU care.