It was every young person’s nightmare.
When Sylvain Bedard was 13, he was diagnosed with cardiac hypertrophy, a hereditary heart disease. Doctors told him exercise would worsen his condition, and the young boy, who previously played baseball, soccer, water polo and who water-skied in the summer, stopped all of his athletic activities.
The father of five never thought he would be active again.
Ten years ago, the 32-year-old was hospitalized, his heart working at only five per cent of its capacity. He received a life-saving transplant, which changed his life, he said.
In 2003, Bedard became the first Canadian heart transplant patient to reach the top of France’s Mont Blanc, and in 2004, was the first transplant patient to pass the 6,000-metre mark on Mount Sajama in Bolivia.
Bedard is coming to Ottawa as a part of a trans-Canada bicycle tour to connect with organ transplant patients in local communities. “There’s a lot of information about the physical aspect of transplants, but there are social and psychological issues as well,” he said.