Transplant rower first to tackle Ahoy's challenge
Fighting spirit and sheer determination to battle a life-threatening diagnosis of chronic heart failure steered Kevin May onto the road to recovery and ready to embrace new challenges.
And the 53-year-old's commitment to tackling a tricky situations will again be tested as he becomes the first transplant patient to take on the Channel Row Challenge, organised by the Deptford-based Ahoy Centre.
The keen rugby player underwent a heart transplant in November 2011, three months after he was told by doctors at Papworth Hospital he would only have one more year to live unless a substitute organ was found.
He said: "I remember thinking to myself 'I am in a bit of trouble here'. And I thought I am really going to fight this as best I can.
"You have to be strong to live, you have to want to live.
"One positive thing about it is nothing can faze me now - 10 months after my transplant I was setting myself aims - and the row is a challenge. Everyone is saying you can't do it, and I love that."
Fresh from securing a Bronze Medal for 50m backstroke at the World Transplant Games in Durban this month, he has his sights set on rowing the English Channel by clipper, alongside five others.
The charity challenge will help to provide funds to boost the centre's sailing and rowing activities targeted at breaking down social barriers.
And, while Kevin has set his two teams of rowers an Ahoy fundraising target of £24,000, as well as extra cash for the Rob Knox Foundation, The Cardiomyopathy Association and The Callum Branch Trust, he will also be using the event on September 21 to raise awareness of his Organs Equal Life campaign.
Talking of his involvement with the south east London organisation, the Sidcup resisent said: "When I visited Ahoy I thought 'I hope I can inspire some of these youngsters'. That's why I got involved.
"With Organs Equal Life, it's all about education and I've got lots of people signed up at Sidcup Rugby Club.
"It's about making people aware that from a negative situation, you can be positive.
"I like to think you can always be positive in life and I don't think people realise how valuable every one is to people."
Kevin estimates he has recruited more than 400 people to sign up for the Organ Donor Register.
Clair Ongley, Ahoy's operations manager, said: "With Kevin's story as an inspiration he is raising the Ahoy profile.
"Although we have been here for 10 years, still people come down and say 'oh my gosh, I didn't realise the centre was this big'.
"And for some people, the organ donor register is a no-brainer and anything we can do to get more people signed up we will. We are hoping it will be a long-term relationship."
With his challenge looming, Kevin added: "Everyone is more worried about getting the money in than doing the row. But the guys won't let me down."