Survivor with ‘nine lives’ will ride from Rugby to Spain to raise money

Sean with his wife Viv and granddaughter Emily Harper
Sean with his wife Viv and granddaughter Emily Harper

A man who is known as ‘the cat’ to his friends because of his many brushes with death is motorcycling 1,500 miles from Rugby to Spain to raise money for people with skin conditions.

Sean Prendergast, 52, has survived a near fatal diabetic seizure, four organ transplants, a heart attack at the wheel of his car and most recently skin cancer.

“I know I’m lucky to be alive,” he said.

“My friends call me Bonetti after a football player who is affectionately known as ‘the cat’ because a cat has nine lives.”

Sean, who has been a diabetic since he was 12, said his catalogue of health problems started when he collapsed at home in 2003.

“My daughter Daisy, who was nine at the time, phoned 999 and her actions could have saved my life.”

Sean, who is married to Viv, who he says has been his “rock”, has also undergone four organ transplants.

“Medical complications have interrupted my life in many ways including three kidney transplants, a pancreas transplant and laser treatment for my eyes.”

He also had a heart attack at the wheel of his car.

Sean said: “I had a broken back and neck, ruptured spleen, broken ribs and frontal lobe contusion. I have had to retire from teaching which leaves a lot of time on my hands with very little energy to do much.”

Then, in 2010 Sean noticed what he thought was a wart on his face. Tests revealed he had skin cancer and he had to have part of his cheek removed, leaving him with a facial scar.

He is now raising money for the British Skin Foundation.

Sean said: “Over the last 40 years, I have been the recipient of the skills and professionalism of some of the most accomplished medical interventions in the world. I am extremely grateful for their work.

“In July I am going to ride my XJ6 motorcycle from Wolston down to the Channel Tunnel, into France and travel over the Millau Bridge and into Spain over the Pyrenees.

“Despite everything, I am fit to ride and I’m really looking forward to the journey.”

To sponsor Sean, visit and search for Sean Prendergast.