A NEW dad has spoken of his life-changing heart transplant.

Roger Marr, 47, received a new heart in February last year after a viral infection caused his heart to fail.

He was diagnosed after attending the accident and emergency department at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh with pains in his stomach, arms and legs and breathlessness. He then went into anaphylactic shock and was put into an induced coma as his heart was failing.

Roger said: “I was told that I needed a transplant to survive. It felt like I was in a bad dream and was waiting to wake up. I spent half the time just looking out the window thinking, ‘This can’t be happening to me’.

“My wife Caroline was heavily pregnant with my son at the time and I had started to resign myself to the fact I was probably never going to see him be born so I was trying to allow that to sink in as well.

“The staff at the hospital were absolutely unbelievable throughout it all.

“I tried not to tell Caroline everything the doctors were telling me because I didn’t want to add to her stress, so when I was alone at nights I’d often break down.

“The nurses would sit with me and chat things through and it really helped me to deal with it all because I was putting such a brave face on during the day for Caroline’s sake.

“When I woke up after the transplant surgery, I was in disbelief that I finally had a working heart. I still felt slightly weak but instantly I knew I was better.

“I suddenly felt so thankful to be alive and for the second chance I’d been given at life.

“I had seen people on my ward walking a few days after they’d had their transplants and seeing them made me determined to do the same.

“Eighteen months on I’m now training in the gym daily and I’ve even moved on to upper body weight training. I feel absolutely brilliant.”

Roger lives on Preston Avenue, Prestonpans, with his wife Caroline and their 14-month old son Rocco.

Speaking about his donor and the family that made everything possible, Roger added: “It’s hard to find the words to explain what they’ve done for me. They’ve given me a second chance at life with Caroline and Rocco.

“Every day when I look at my son I imagine the pain and suffering they must have been going through when they made the decision to let me have their loved one’s heart.

“I’m so blessed and thankful for the gift of life they’ve given me. I don’t think any words I find could ever repay them.

“I also think the move to the opt-out system for organ donation is going to be great. If it means more organs will be available for people who need them then why not have it?

“Before I needed my transplant, I wasn’t really aware of the benefits of organ donation or how important it is but I’m literally walking proof it works and transforms people’s lives.”

Roger shared his experience to mark Organ Donation Week, which also saw national landmarks such as Murrayfield Stadium and The Kelpies lit up green to raise awareness of organ donation.