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Multiple transplant patient takes to the seas

03 January 2018 11:30

Adventurous Ms Dixon will set sail in a tall ship

Adventurous Ms Dixon will set sail in a tall ship

A woman born with a hole in the heart is to take on an adventure of a lifetime.

Sailor Tineke Dixon, 46, has battled serious health problems undergoing multiple transplants and is joining a 46-day tall ship expedition in the Southern Hemisphere.

She spent much of her childhood battling severe illness and relied on the use of a wheelchair with doctors unable to help her.

With medical advancement Ms Dixon underwent a heart and lung transplant in 1988 and 10 years later underwent a kidney transplant, which was donated by her mother.

Since then she has made the most of her much-improved health and developed a passion for sailing as well as spending time helping charities close to her heart.

Ms Dixon, from Exmouth, Devon, works as a programme manager for the South West Ambulance Service Foundation Trust. She says with the 30-year anniversary since her first transplant on the horizon, she felt "a bit of wanderlust setting in".

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'Blummin' amazing'

Ms Dixon will be sailing on Tenacious, the Jubilee Sailing Trust's tall ship, and will travel 5,200 nautical miles over 46 days after leaving Auckland on January 11.

The crew, which is made up of able bodied and disabled sailors, will sail through the Southern Ocean around Cape Horn and will complete the trip when they arrive at the Falkland Islands.

"I want to celebrate how blummin' amazing this has been for me and to raise money for my three chosen charities as a thank you for the essential support I received at different stages in my life.

"I want to ensure that others coming after me have access to the support that gets us from the cosseting of paediatric care into the self-determination of adult life."

Adventurous spirit

She added: "I am getting nervous about the trip now that all the details have been finalised.

"I have never been at sea for such a long period of time and I won't have met any of the other crew until I see them on the deck in Auckland. But I have an adventurous spirit, just like my fantastic mum, and I know that it will be a really exciting and rewarding time too."

She is hoping to raise £5,200 - a pound for every nautical mile of the trip - for three charities. They are Heartline, The Somerville Foundation and Papworth Hospital Charity.