Jeremy Olsen was eager to get back to an active and energetic lifestyle after receiving a new heart in 2015.
But he never imagined he would end up completing an Olympic distance triathlon.
"I was told this wasn't a possibility for me," says Jeremy in a moving video produced by the Toronto Triathlon Festival (TTF). "But it was."
In 2018, Jeremy became the first Canadian heart transplant recipient to complete the Toronto Triathlon, which consists of a 1.5-kilometre swim, 40-km bike ride and 10-km run.
He completed the course again last month, beating his time from a year ago by an impressive 20 minutes.
"I was overwhelmed with relief and gratitude when I crossed the finish line," says Jeremy. "My son was there to cheer me on – I was just filled with happiness."
Born with a complex heart disorder, doctors thought Jeremy wouldn't live past the age of two. Thankfully, he beat the odds, and at seven underwent a full reconstructive heart surgery that allowed him to live a healthy life during his teenage years.
Then, at 26, Jeremy suffered an atrial fibrillation attack. Although he was able to go back to school, marry his wife and have a son, Jeremy suffered another attack in his late 30s that left him with no chance of recovery.
He was soon placed on a waiting list for a heart transplant. He began 2015 in the hospital, watching his son take his first steps over FaceTime with his wife.