About two weeks ago the minions and I visited the heart transplant museum at Groote Schuur Hospital, and what a life changing event…literally. For starters, as an immediate result of our visit, we have all three registered to be organ donors.

I urge Every South African to do themselves a favour and pay the museum a visit. I sincerely promise you, that you will come away feeling immensely proud to be South African. And for every Non-South African and South African, alike, you will come away with an amazing story of one man’s courage and determination in the face of adversity, a story about the unrelenting human spirit and our capacity to overcome, a reminder that after hard work and tenacity there are well deserved acknowledgements that came with accomplishments. Chris Barnard is an inspiration. His life made a difference.

Before our visit I really didn’t think much of the man. Sure, he performed the first heart transplant and what not, something very noteworthy yeah of course yeah- but until that morning I never realised the extent of the  sacrifices he made and what it entailed. Our visit gave me insight into his life and allowed me to try and imagine what it must of been to be in his shoes. He was the underdog and a risk taker. He finished a PhD degree that should have taken six years in two years – Respect!. Then, there were also no guarantees that any of his efforts would pay off, and yet he persisted for years…because he felt passionate about his work. And the time arrived, when totally unexpected by the rest of the world, in the wee hours one December morning in unsophisticated Africa, he performed the historical operation that forced the world to look up, and reminded them, don’t underestimate the underdog. Sometimes, that underdog will surprise you.

However, the thing that I admire the most about Chris Barnard, the characteristic that won me over and had the most significant impact on me was that through it all, through his trials and his failures and then his glory, his ‘human-ness’ shone through, his temperamental side, his sense of humour, his humility and daring nature and his mischievous streak. I reckon he was a good guy, a really cool human being.

I will not elaborate any more on the details of our visit, because again I’ll urge you – go check it out for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

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