Putting his heart into chal­lenge

Central Leader - - News - By Janie Smith

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 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.”

To spon­sor Tadgh, go to www. fundraiseon­line. co. nz/ tadghma­her08 or call 0900 4 HEART to make a $20 do­na­tion.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Heart ride: Tadgh Ma­her get­ting ready for last year’s Taupo cy­cle chal­lenge.

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