PATIENT Paul Griffin is taking part in pioneering stem cell research to help cure a type of heart disease.
The 64-year-old is battling a condition called dilated cardiomyopathy.
It means his heart valves are not functioning properly, and since he was diagnosed 12 years ago, he has been fitted with three pacemakers.
But 18 months ago Paul had stem cells from his abdomen injected into his heart to see if they will strengthen it.
Paul, of Palmyra Road, Gosport, has been told he may need a heart transplant.
The retired businessman wants to make sure no one goes through what he has and hopes stem cell research will find a cure.
He said: ‘I was waking up in the night feeling very breathless – even getting breathless brushing my teeth.
‘So I went to the doctors in Norfolk, where I was living, and that was when I was diagnosed.
‘I was told 50 per cent of people will die within five years and 95 per cent in 10 years.
‘I’ve survived this long, and when I saw there was a trial for treatment I didn’t need to think twice about taking part.’
Paul saw an article in charity Cardiomyopathy Association’s magazine.
It called for people with the condition to take part.
He is one of 60 people taking part in the experiment in London, which started in September 2010.
Half were injected with a placebo and later this year tests will be carried out to see if whether the treatment has worked.
‘The association has given me a huge amount of information over the years,’ added Paul.
‘When I heard about the stem cell research I was keen to take part.
‘I fitted the criteria for the trial and had the time to help. If it doesn’t help me directly, it should help others.
‘If a successful stem cell therapy can be devised, heart transplants and all the problems that go with them may become obsolete.
‘It could also save the NHS millions of pounds and help millions of people throughout the world to live longer and healthier lives.’
Paul is planning on setting up his own support group for the condition in Hampshire.
He will be at an information day being held by the association in Basingstoke on Sunday, February 25. To find out more about the information day visit cardiomyopathy.org or call 01494 791224.