Simon Keith undergoes second heart transplant

Former pro athlete turned transplant advocate gets another chance

Victoria’s Simon Keith is lauded for his international advocacy on organ transplants. The Mount Douglas Secondary grad and retired pro-soccer player is in hospital in San Diego, where he’s been living in California. (Simon Keith Foundation)

Simon Keith and his family were extremely grateful on Sunday as they received the call that a heart and kidney were suddenly available.

Keith underwent what is reported by his family and friends as a successful second heart transplant on Sunday followed by a succesful four-hour surgery for the kidney transplant on Monday.

The former Saanich resident and soccer player who is famous for being the first to earn a living as a pro athlete with a heart transplant. The 53-year-old received his initial heart transplant at the age of 21.

However, Keith’s health deteriorated in 2018 as his heart and kidney both began to fail. He’d been waiting for a transplant since and had the surgery where he’s been living in San Diego.

READ MORE: Transplant advocate Simon Keith hospitalized needs another heart

“We are so very grateful and blessed at this opportunity to share many more years together as a family,” said his wife, Kelly Keith, in a statement. “While it is incredibly bittersweet as one family lost a treasured loved one, we are and always will be humbled by the generosity of strangers. Please know, we will always pay it forward and ensure that organ donation becomes the norm and saves as many lives as possible.”

Keith was born in England but grew up in Saanich playing for Lansdowne Minor Soccer and the Mount Douglas Rams soccer team and then UVic Vikes (Vikings) before undergoing a heart transplant in 1986. He then transferred to the UNLV Running Rebels in the NCAA and graduated to the pro circuit, making history. He is among the longest living people to undergo a heart transplant, having lived 32 years with a second heart, after 21 years on his own.

Keith is known for his organ transplant advocacy through the Simon Keith Foundation and as a motivational speaker.

“Simon had a good night, and today we wait to hear when his kidney transplant will take place,” said family friend Ian Klitsie on Monday morning.

Those who are familiar and in contact with the Keith family are asked to respect their privacy at this time, Klitsie said.

reporter@saanichnews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Saanich brings Uptown-Douglas Corridor draft plan to the public

Feedback from residents will help finalize the plan

Truck involved in Malahat crash had no insurance

Driver faces charges of driving without due care and attention, no insurance for Monday’s crash

Some 5,000 residents on the Saanich Peninsula have signed up for alert system

Sidney hosts Peninsula Emergency Preparedness Exhibition Friday

Residents say Monday’s fatal crash in Saanich wasn’t unexpected

Speed has long been a concern for neighbours in the Cumberland and Union roads area

‘It’s almost surreal’: B.C. fire chief, sidekick Sammy recap rescue mission in Bahamas

Chief Larry Watkinson and Sam the disaster dog spent 8 days assisting a search and rescue team

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should the province step in to upgrade the road to Bamfield?

The death of two University of Victoria students on a bus bound… Continue reading

Canadian stars Virtue, Moir say in video they’re ‘stepping away’ from ice dancing

The pair thank fans for their support in an emotional message

Kamloops high school evacuated after receiving threat

Police have not released any further details into what the threat includes

Woman held at gunpoint during carjacking in UBC parkade

University RCMP say the vehicle is still missing, and two suspects are at large

VIDEO: Angry B.C. cyclist starts shaming dangerous drivers online

‘You motorists deserve all your costs and misery’

‘Time to take action:’ Children advocates call for national youth suicide strategy

Council wants Ottawa to make reporting of suicides and attempted suicides mandatory for data collection

Canadian inflation decelerates to 1.9% as gas prices weaken

August was the sixth straight month that price growth was 1.9 per cent or higher

Most Read