14th December 2017
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A passionate sailor who has battled serious health issues from a young age is about to take on the adventure of a lifetime as she takes on a 46 day, tall ship sailing expedition in the Southern Hemisphere. 

Tineke Dixon, age 46, from Exmouth, was born with a hole in her heart and spent much of her childhood battling severe illness and relied on the use of a wheelchair. There was little the medics could do for her at the time of her diagnosis but with medical advancement Tineke underwent a heart and lung transplant in 1988 and ten years later underwent a kidney transplant, which was donated by her mum. 

Since then Tineke has made the most of her much improved health and developed a passion for sailing as well as spending time helping charities close to her heart. 

Tineke, who joined SWASFT in 2009 and works as a Programme Manager, said: “I used to be quite an adventurous person but sometimes the more mundane things in life take over. With the 30 year anniversary since my first transplant on the horizon I felt a bit of wanderlust setting in. With my love of sailing and desire to help the charities who helped me so much I felt the need to reaffirm a few things and go completely overboard!”

Tineke will sail on Tenacious, the Jubilee Sailing Trust’s tall ship, and will travel 5200 nautical miles over 46 days.  The crew is made up of able bodied and disabled sailors and leaves Auckland, New Zealand on 11 January 2018. Tineke will sail through the Southern Ocean around Cape Horn and will complete the trip when she arrives in Stanley in the Falkland Islands.

Tineke added: “I want the world to know how fantastic transplantation is. In the early days it was a bit experimental, but now donating an organ can be donating a lifetime, even more valuable than back then.  I want to celebrate how blummin’ amazing this has been for me and to raise money for my three chosen charities as a thank you for the essential support I received at different stages in my life. I want to ensure that others coming after me have access to the support that gets us from the cosseting of paediatric care into the self-determination of adult life.”

Tineke added: “I am getting nervous about the trip now that all the details have been finalised. I have never been at sea for such a long period of time and I won’t have met any of the other crew until I see them on the deck in Auckland. But I have an adventurous spirit, just like my fantastic mum, and I know that it will be a really exciting and rewarding time too.” 

Not only is Tineke taking on the ambitious sailing adventure but she has set herself the target of raising £5200 (to match the nautical miles of the trip) for each of the three charities who have helped her throughout her life. Tineke will be raising funds for:

Heartline – who support families of children born with heart conditions.

The Somerville Foundation – who work with heart children as they grow up through adolescence

Papworth Hospital Charity – this charity supports the research and the care of patients treated at which is an internationally famous Cardio-thoracic centre, Papworth Hospital.

Anyone who would like to donate should visit Tineke’s Just Giving page:


Tineke added:  “Thank you to everyone who has helped me over the years, both through your donations and your support for me. This is going to be an arduous trip, not the faint hearted, but I can’t wait!”


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Dave B

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