Wiremu Keepa had no idea why he kept blacking out.
It was only after the 68-year-old crashed his car and was being treated for injuries that the reason was revealed - he had a serious heart condition that almost ended his life.
His story comes as the Heart Foundation is forced to cancel its annual Big Heart street collection appeal, its largest public facing campaign, because of Covid-19.
Donations go towards funding heart research, including into heart failure and irregular heart rhythms - which is what Keepa had.
The foundation is now calling on people to donate online now that the street appear has been cancelled.
Keepa's story was years in the making.
It wasn't until after five years of waiting that he was called to come into Greenlane Hospital for a transplant.
"There was no mention of a possible transplant operation [on the phone], so I drove myself to Auckland blissfully unaware. I didn't even say hooray to my children, mother or family," he said.
On arrival he was wheeled into a pre-operating room with two other patients.
"They were waiting for a lung from the same donor as me. I gave a mihi and a short karakia to them before we went in. Sadly one passed away about six days after his operation and the other about eight years after," he said.
Keepa eventually met his donor's wife. She held her hand to his chest and felt her husband's heartbeat.
"I've been really fortunate with my heart. It's a great heart. I really do have to acknowledge the donor and his wife for without their extreme kindness, I quite possibly wouldn't be telling my story."
Meanwhile Auckland grandmother Peggy Fahy said she is alive today thanks to heart research, after she went into cardiac arrest and needed an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD).
The devices can detect and correct her heart's rate and rhythm and if her heart is at risk of cardiac arrest it will deliver a shock.
"Years ago, people who were diagnosed with global heart failure were only given a maximum of five years to live. It was like a death sentence. But thanks to research, people like me can start to build a different life," Fahy said.
The Heart Foundation's medical director Dr Gerry Devlin said the devices are more common in New Zealand than they were a decade ago.
"We see incredible advances in technology, in our understanding of the heart, and in ways to prevent and treat heart disease [through our research]," he said.
"But the reason this research is so exciting is because I know firsthand the transformational impact it has on people's lives, people like Peggy, who would not be alive today without the benefits of heart research. We urgently need your help to continue to fund this life-saving research."
He thanked all New Zealanders for their support so far. Those that want to donate can do so online.
Fahy said through research she's able to have an ICD and be alive.
"And that I'm forever grateful for. People want to know specifics when they're giving money. How is it going to help? So, I'd like to use myself as an example to say, if they hadn't progressed and got ICDs, I probably wouldn't be alive today."