Understanding the limits of an inherited heart condition: Maninder's story

Maninda Sawhney

Maninder Sawhney, 25, has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. His brother and mother have the same inherited heart condition and his mother recently had a heart transplant. He shares how the condition has changed their lives.

Hearing mum tell us she needed a heart transplant was hard, but I wanted to be with her every step of the way. It’s been tough having her in hospital and not at home.

Manny (Maninder's brother, Manvir) has found the news difficult. I know he is scared. We talked things through together, which has helped us both. We are staying positive and know this is the best thing for mum.

Hearing that I couldn’t play rugby any more was really hard to get my head around. I was captain of the rugby team at the time, and we were about to go on tour in Wales. I had put everything into rugby and it was all I knew.

I would get into arguments at home and, honestly, at points I stopped caring. It was my coach who told me to get a grip. He said I was still talented, and while I can’t play rugby, I should pick up something else.

Brother Maninder and Manvir

Maninder with his brother Manny.

I got into rugby coaching, started playing cricket and I still push myself, but with the help of Dr Prasad I have learnt to understand my limits and keep the balance between doing exercise and keeping safe.

I was the first in the family to get knocked down by HCM, but I count myself lucky

I was the first in the family to get knocked down by hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), but I count myself lucky. I am currently stable, I have a busy job working at a large car rental firm, and I can live a normal life. My mum and brother are much more restricted. Seeing mum getting unwell really matured me. I wanted to support them both, to take on more responsibilities and be a role model for Manny.

I would one day like a family of my own and know my condition could be passed down. This is where research could help play a part.

It is a boost to know the BHF is helping to explore this. We are all optimistic that very soon something could make things easier.  

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