Newsletter for the Rotary Club of Western Endeavour - Issue No.: 841 Issue Date: 13 Jan, 2019

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Bryon and Jeremy

Long road from a broken heart

“The Long Road from a Broken Heart”

Jeremy is a New Zealander from Christchurch who was born with a severe “hole in his heart”. As the medical risks associated with repair of this condition were very high some 45 years ago, his surgery was delayed until he was four years of age.  His open-heart surgery was then a complete success.

Jeremy is an architectural draftsman who obtained work planning Terminal 5 at Heathrow airport in London. Whilst doing this 7-Year contract, he decided to attempt a 2 1/2 years cycling trip from London to Christchurch to raise funds for the British, Australian and New Zealand Heart Foundations.

Jeremy’s presentation was on his personal life story. He described a range of personal challenges:

  • His childhood as a severely physically disabled child with a hole in his heart;
  • Life-saving open heart surgery;
  • Achieving self-belief and the courage to take that first step into the unknown in 2011;
  • Being unfit at the commencement of his journey and the consequences for him in his early travels;
  • Winter in Turkey with temperatures being -40 degrees;
  • An encounter with gun-wielding drug dealers in Iran where he was able to use the intervention of four strangers to escape their clutches;
  • The generosity of an Iranian man who cooked all his personal food so that Jeremy could have something to eat (This incident and others made him aware of the level of censorship in the Western Press because it never reports such behaviour).
  • Riding through sandstorms in central Asia in 50 Degree heat;
  • Travelling though China, South Korea, Japan and Vietnam;
  • Meeting the brother of the surgeon who had performed open-heart in Hanoi. This man told him of his son who had the same open-heart operation 2 years before Jeremy’s operation and his son had not survived – making Jeremy feel very grateful for the medical research and advances that had been made in the two years prior to his own surgery.
  • Jeremy in Istanbul

Jeremy's book

  • From Hanoi he travelled through SE Asia down the Malaysian Peninsular to Sumatra, Java and Bali before flying to Darwin.
  • In Darwin he met up with a 70-year-old uncle and aunt who rode with him from Darwin to Normanton to Cairns. He found these elderly family members so inspirational as they coped with the difficulties of travelling with him.
  • He then rode from Cairns to Melbourne before flying to Auckland.
  • From Auckland he rode down the East Coast of the North Island, and crossed Cook Strait. He there he rode down the West Coast of the South Island before crossing the mountains and riding to Dunedin and Invercargill. From there he rode his final leg to Christchurch finishing his travels on 25 May 2014 after completing 51,900 kilometres.
  • His bike was a Dutch touring bike that had 14 internal gears in the rear wheel. During his travels he had only seven type punctures to repair. He was able to raise more than $50,000 for the British, Australian and New Zealand Heart Foundations.
  • He said that the 2.5years travelling were the best years of his life to date.  He is currently planning a trip from Northern Alaska to the Southern-most tip of Argentina.
  • He has published a book on his travels called “The Long Road from a Broken Heart” (this is what his nephew said he was doing over the last the last 2.5 years). He donates 10% of the book proceeds to the relevant Heart Foundations.
  • Jeremy has been recognised by the Australian Heart Foundation with a 'Heart Hero Award'. He is also an Ambassador for Waterline Challenge.


    Bruce Dufty

    Author: Bruce Dufty

    Published: 9 December, 2017


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