Author and motivational speaker 44-year-old Jeremy Scott thought, as a four-year-old, he was going on a holiday when his parents helped him pack his bag and they all piled into the car.
The next thing he knew he was waking up in hospital with a sore chest.
Jeremy had life-saving open-heart surgery after suffering from a hole between the two chambers in his heart.
“Before the surgery it was just another day, my parents couldn’t bring themselves to try and explain what was going to happen to me, so they told me I was going on a holiday,” he said.
“I had my bags packed and I was in the car and it was all very exciting but little did I know that I was being driven to the hospital.
“When I woke up the first thing I said was: ‘this is no holiday’.”
Mr Scott told the Free Press that the experience of surviving open-heart surgery all those years ago has made him a stronger person who is grateful for each and every day and would later inspire him to travel the world, write a book and become a motivational speaker.
The Rotary Club of Corowa organised for the National Heart Foundation Ambassador to visit Corowa’s RSL Club on September 28 to share his inspiring story with the rotary members and the community.
The Rotary Club of Corowa’s John Law said Jeremy’s journey was ‘extremely inspiring’ and had everyone hanging on everything he said.
Mr Scott, who lives in Melbourne, spoke about his book – ‘The Long Road from a Broken Heart’.
The book tells his life story, from undergoing life-saving, open-heart surgery at just four years of age to cycling around the planet.
The journey, which started on October 5 in 2011, was many years in the planning and involved a 2 ½ year, 51,916 kilometre unsupported bicycle ride from London to New Zealand.
At the conclusion of his phenomenal journey, Mr Scott wrote his highly successful book and now dedicates his life to inspiring others.
Mr Scott said the journey was an eye-opener.
“Time passed so quickly and the months just disappeared and it was by far the best two and a half years of my life and nothing else has come close,” he said.
“I was raising money for the Australian, New Zealand and British heart foundations but I almost felt embarrassed telling people what I was doing.
“I didn’t want to come across egotistical but then I thought that if I raised $1000 it was going to be a $1000 more than I had beforehand so I sort of had that attitude then which was good.
“I then met a man in Vietnam and, as it turned out, his brother had been operated on by the same surgeon who saved my life and when I heard that I just couldn’t believe the coincidence and I was so excited and I said to the guy that I needed to meet his brother because this encounter just couldn’t have been a coincidence.
“He said I couldn’t meet his brother because he died during the operation and it turned out that his brother’s operation was just a few years before mine.
“We quickly realised that my surgeon would have learnt a lot of valuable lessons from the failed operation, which he carried forward to save my life two years later.
“That was the moment that everything changed.
“That’s when I realised that it’s not about me, it’s about people like this guy who had lost family members and others out there about to undergo surgery.
“I was looking him in the eye and I knew for a fact that his brother’s death had gone a long way to saving my life.
“That really changed everything from that point forward.”
Mr Scott recalled a ‘monumental void’ after finishing the mammoth cycling journey.
“It was like, you know, what do I do now?” he said.
“What’s going to possibly challenge me back in the real world?
“I needed to find another big challenge and I did, I found that in the shape of my book and learning to speak in public and becoming a motivational speaker, which at first terrified me more than anything else.
“I guess the journey taught me that there’s only one way to get over your fears and that’s just to give it ago.
“So I thought that if I applied the same logic I did to my bike ride to speaking in public, then I will be able to cope with it.”
The book has been out since December, 2014.
Mr Scott said he now enjoys speaking in public and said you just never know who you might inspire to do great things.
“You just never know who is in the audience and will connect with it in their own special way,” he said.
“An example of this is that a couple of years ago I was flown to the UK to speak to the clients of a small private bank in London and just two days ago I received an email from one of the people in attendance and they said they wanted to let me know that after seeing the presentation they had signed up to ride across the United Kingdom.
“He didn’t mention a thing to me at the time of the presentation, but something just resonated with him and he decided to go and chase his dreams.
“That’s exactly why I am doing this and I need to keep spreading the word for things like this to happen.”
Motivational speaking has now become a full-time gig for Mr Scott and it is taking him all over the world.
As a passionate supporter of numerous charities, Mr Scott was awarded the 2015 Australian Heart Foundation (Queensland) ‘Heart Hero’ Award for his work raising funds, awareness and inspiring others with heart disease.
Mr Scott is in the middle of organising his next ride, which will be from the top of Alaska to the tip of Argentina.