Dunfermline survivor Kevin McKee has taken part in a massive test of fitness and strength just two years after undergoing heart surgery.
The 35-year-old took on the challenge of a lifetime in the Wales Ironman, sweeping aside his own recent health scare to raise money for a friend’s four-year-old daughter who has been diagnosed with leukaemia.
He undertook a two and a half-mile swim, a 112-mile cycle and a 26-mile run in support of the family.
The challenge would have been unthinkable 24 months ago when the once active footballer began to struggle to keep up with his team mates.
Thinking fitness was to blame, he took up running but the more physical activity he did, the worse his symptoms became until one day he collapsed while playing football.
He was diagnosed with a heart defect, which he had been living with since birth. Instead of three tricuspid valves, Kevin only had two which had been working so hard to compensate they had been worn away.
After cardiac surgery doctors urged him to exercise to support his recovery he got involved in Fife Sports and Leisure Trust’s cardiac rehab programme.
He said: “I am hardly in the gym as I prefer to get active outdoors but during the sessions I gained knowledge on how to use the equipment and to feel confident to get active again.
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“It was also good to meet other people who were in the same or similar situations.”
Within months Kevin felt well enough to take on more physical activity and eventually ran the Edinburgh half marathon.
Since then, he has literally gone from strength to strength, completing a 100-mile cycle the Tiree Ultra 35-mile run and the Ben Nevis Braveheart triathlon.
Kevin said: “I’m very thankful for the help and encouragement I received from family and friends with my own health battle – I’m also hugely grateful to the cardiac rehab programme and the instructors who helped me in the crucial weeks after my surgery.
“My involvement in the Ironman has an additional element in that I’m fundraising for a friend’s four-year-old daughter who was recently diagnosed with leukaemia – I have two small children and could imagine how devastating it must be for the family.”