Heart transplant recipient Derek Fitzgerald is happy to be home.
Pushing the limits of what any heart transplant recipient has gone on to do, Derek has reached the end of his 44-day ultra-distance bike ride.
As part of the Recycledman Foundation's Tour for a Cure, Derek and fellow athletes Dave Madden and Maire Reynolds traversed the continent from Santa Monica, California to Avalon, New Jersey. The purpose: to raise money for cancer research, promote heart health, and bring awareness to organ donation.
A brief sendoff event this morning at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania celebrated Derek's post-transplant accomplishments. Riding with Derek on the last leg of his journey were more than a dozen cyclists.
Derek has faced daunting health problems in his life. In 2003, he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Derek beat the cancer, but the treatments damaged his heart – he went into severe heart failure that ultimately led to a transplant in 2011.
Hear Derek tell his story:
With multiple IRONMAN competitions already under his belt, Derek is gearing up for two more: IRONMAN Mont-Tremblant and the IRONMAN World Championship in October.
We wish Derek all the best in his upcoming competitions!
Learn more about Derek's Recycledman Foundation and follow them on Facebook.