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Date: 16 December 2017

Time: 12:55

Surgeon to bring home global yacht

Story posted/last updated: 01 August 2013

A consultant liver surgeon from Birmingham is taking on one of his biggest challenges – when he sails the Atlantic on the final leg of a round the world yacht race.

Darius Mirza, a consultant with University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, will help sail a 68-foot yacht from New York to the UK on the final leg of the global voyage.

He is one of 10 Transplant Ambassadors taking part in the Clipper Round-the-World Yacht Race – a gruelling 40,000-mile challenge which started out from Southampton on Sunday 31 July 2011.

The yacht, called Edinburgh Inspiring Capital, aims to promote organ donation and transplantation in the UK and in the various countries visited by the race, including Brazil, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, China, the USA and Canada.

Mr Mirza, one of six transplant specialists taking part in the race, as well as four patients, set sail from New York on Thursday 7 June 2012 with the other nine yachts in the fleet.

The yachts will parade past the Statue of Liberty before sailing to Canada, with the fleet expected to arrive in Halifax, Nova Scotia, between June 11-12.

It will then head across the Atlantic, before hopefully arriving in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, around June 30.

Mr Mirza, who joined UHB as a trainee in 1991 before becoming a consultant five years later, said: “Since July 2011, one of the 10 Clipper Round the World racing yachts has been part crewed by a transplant patient and/or a transplant clinician, trying to demonstrate around the world what can be achieved with transplantation.

“I have no sea legs at all and am completely brand new to all of this, but it is all about supporting the project and raising awareness for organ transplantation and what transplant patients can achieve.”

He added: “We have all done three to four weeks training on the yacht itself, but it will be physically and mentally quite demanding.

“I am very apprehensive but also looking forward to it. And, of course, I will be helping to bring the yacht home – the glory leg!”

Mr Mirza, who will be joined by renal transplant patient Nick Barclay, who is doing the whole race, and double lung transplant patient Justine Laymond, is also due to bring the yacht home for the race finish in Southampton on July 22.

Retired UHB consultant Prof John Buckels completed the third leg of the race, which involved sailing the Southern Oceans last October and November.

The ‘ship’s medics’ have all funded their own trips, while money has been raised through sponsorship to pay for the patients to take part.

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