3 Minutes to read
Rand Leeb-du Toit, Author & Heart Transplant Survivor
Learning Inspiration 🌈 #62
Rand Leeb-du Toit was an international speaker, lawyer, venture capitalist, and serial entrepreneur until his sudden cardiac death in 2014. This experience transformed him and brought him back to his passion for writing. Following a heart transplant in 2019, he started to focus all of his attention on inspiring others with hope, love, and a little magic.
Tell us about you
I’ve written a lot of poetry over the years. I always wanted to write books because I just love books and reading. However, I got pulled into the world of Business and became a lawyer, an entrepreneur many times over, a VC and then a Gartner analyst. Being an analyst actually helped me in my writing a lot. It developed my writing muscle. I dealt with very intensively peer reviewed work and we were working with massive deadlines, flying all around the world. We didn’t have time to say, “I don’t feel like writing today.” We just worked as hard as we could.
Then I had a sudden cardiac death experience in 2014. I wrote a book about it being a catalyst for change in people’s lives, which was published in 2017. My goal was to show people that they could do that. It’s called reinvention.
Then I got busy with life.
How did you become a writer ✍️?
In 2019, I experienced a massive cardiac incident on a tropical Island and had to be helicoptered off the island and to the hospital. I had severe heart failure. Within the next six months, I had a heart transplant, with major complications. I was on life support for quite a while. I was in the ICU for 40 days, lost 40 kilograms and even had to learn how to walk again. I spent 4 months in rehab afterwards and spent all of 2019 at the hospital. Once I got my strength back, I was discharged. I said to myself, “I’m coming out of this with a clean slate.”
My sudden cardiac arrest transformed my life to quite a large degree, but it was after my heart transplant that I decided to follow my dream and to focus on writing.
I published a collection of poems in June 2020 that I’d written forty years ago. I then wrote the first draft of my memoir on heart related activities, which I am converting into a movie script.
Then my sister-in-law asked me to write this true crime saga. Basically, it’s the story of one of the world’s worst serial killers. He shot and killed 39 people, bragged about shooting over 100, and was convicted of 7 murders and 2 attempted murders. He had a wife and a daughter who were separated from him at some point. His daughter hired a contract killer to kill her mother, and father and daughter both ended up at the same prison. That’s the basis of the story. The real interesting part for me was that my sister-in-law was a human rights activist and worked with two journalists to get this guy convicted. A lot of it is about her story as well.
I am also a curator. I did OnDeck Writing when it first launched. I had this idea for a new curated newsletter with highly distilled writing for thinkers and explorers called http://conked.io/, which is an anagram for OnDeck by the way. It’s a weekly newsletter and is now growing globally.
How did OnDeck help you 👨🎓?
I think for me, I was looking for a community of writers with intent. I’m surrounded by a support system all day, but none of them are writers. I wanted to connect with a group of people who were writing as a day job, as a part-time thing, and as a passion. That was certainly the case at ODW, but on steroids. I brought my book to them and it really helped me to write it. For example, I got feedback from my writers’ group on the prologue, and it was just fantastic. You think, “I nailed it, I got it” and then… “No!” You get another perspective and it is so helpful.
What are your main challenges when it comes to writing ?
I think it’s just time, to be honest. I’ve got a very well-oiled curation engine through which I source about a thousand articles a week. From there, I curate the ones I think are the best or most relevant and write a summary, then I compile a newsletter. I write regularly, focus as much as I can, but life sometimes gets in the way.
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