11-year-old Tadgh puts his heart into cycle challenge
Tadgh Maher is using pedal power to help youngsters with heart conditions.
The 11-year-old from Pt Chevalier will ride the last 5km of the Wattyl Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge tomorrow to raise money for Heart Children New Zealand.
Tadgh was born with a condition called aortic valve stenosis, which meant one of his heart valves didn’t work properly. He had open heart surgery when he was 10 days old and further operations at six months, one year and five years.
He says the condition doesn’t affect him much now but occasionally makes him tired.
His father Michael is part of a local cycling group and will do the ride with his son.
Tadgh says he hasn’t really been training for the event, other than riding his scooter and bike around the neighbourhood.
“He’s probably fitter than the rest of us,” says Michael.
Tadgh is looking forward to the event. “I just enjoy riding.” The youngster is hoping for a smoother ride than he’s had in the past two events.
Last year he got a fever before the ride and was at the Accident and Emergency clinic the day before.
He was treated with antibiotics and slept for the day but was able to wake up and cycle the 5km.
And the year before he had a broken ankle so his father towed him on the course on his bike.
Michael will cycle half of the 160km race and the pair will meet up to ride the last 5km together. Tadgh is one of 32 heart children doing the ride, the youngest of whom is three years old and has already had open heart surgery.
Events and sponsorship coordinator Liz Beck says the Wattyl Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge is one of the organisation’s major fundraisers and she encourages all riders to lend their support.
“It’s a great thing for the kids to be able to do, to support the organisation that supports them and their families.”
This year it’s hoped $160,000 will be raised for camps run by Heart Children to help young people with heart conditions.
To sponsor Tadgh, go to www.fundraiseonline. co.nz/tadghmaher08 or call 0900 4 HEART to make a $20 donation.
Heart ride: Tadgh Maher getting ready for
last year’s Taupo cycle challenge.