A man from Southern Ontario travelled to Ottawa to run a 10-kilometer race this weekend. But, it wasn’t just any ordinary race - it is his first with a new heart.

Two years ago- John Dickhout was waitlisted for a heart-transplant. “For a number of years I couldn’t (run), I had a hard time walking up the stairs. I was close to death,” he says.

He got the call that there was a match in Ottawa- the donor was 22-year-old Adam Prashaw from Kanata. Prashaw died after a fatal seizure in a pool. But his family says he had signed his donor card when he was 16-years-old. It was his wish for his organs to be donated. 

“It was the easiest decision we ever made. Because we knew Adam’s wishes and there was no way we were going to stand in the way,” says Adam’s father Rick Prashaw.

Since then, both families have met and have developed a friendship. But Dickhout wanted to do something to show how strong Adam’s heart still is. So, he signed up for a 10-kilometer race in Kanata- Adam’s hometown. The race took place on the road outside the Marshes Golf Course in Kanata. At the finish line waiting and cheering him on was Adam’s family.

Dickhout says, “I wanted to let my donor family know how thankful I am… and express my appreciation of how much this gift meant to me and my family.”

Prashaw says “John is John and to just see him living and choosing life and running... just means the world to us.”

John successfully completed the race, he jokes, “The heart is fantastic... it’s the least sore part of me right now.”

According to Trillium Gift of Life Network almost 1,600 are on the waitlist for an organ transplant. As of March 2nd- 35 people are waiting for a heart donor.