Heart surgery survivor’s big adventure
A Mt Roskill resident is taking on Auckland’s 75km Hillary Trail for a cause close to his heart.
Bevan Ellis, 27, grew up with a heart condition and underwent his second open heart surgery in March. He spent the next five weeks in hospital, losing a lot of muscle mass.
During his first operation at 15, Ellis had his mitral valve replaced with a porcine valve. This year, he went into heart failure due to endocarditis, an infection on the heart valve, and had to have his valve replaced with a mechanical valve.
Now he has decided to walk the Hillary Trail on Auckland’s West Coast to increase heart health awareness and raise funds for the Heart Foundation.
He hoped that by doing the hike, he could encourage other people with heart conditions to get out and be active.
‘‘You don’t have to worry about after surgery because you can still do a lot of things and can get back to a normal routine if you really set your mind to it,’’ Ellis said.
He will be hiking with close friends Dan Hooker, Isabella Hooker and Tamati Parker.
Dan Hooker, an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter, set up physiotherapy to help with his best friend’s recovery.
‘‘He’s been there throughout my career, helping me with training and supporting me on my journey,’’ Hooker said.
‘‘We’ve gotten my fight out of the way with UFC Auckland and now, it’s his fight so we’re getting on board and backing him up.’’
Yoga instructor Isabella Hooker said she had seen huge progress in Ellis’ fitness.
Ellis has been doing physio three times a week along with training and yoga to prepare for the hike.
‘‘He’s been improving every week, which helps with everything,’’ Hooker said.
Parker said raising funds for the Heart Foundation was typical of his friend’s character.
‘‘Bevan spends most of his time helping other people out and he’s a good example of someone who, against all odds, can set an ambitious goal and achieve it,’’ Parker said.
‘‘He took it with his teeth and ran with it.’’
Heart Foundation medical director Gerry Devlin said the foundation was grateful for Ellis’ support.
Isabella Hooker, Bevan Ellis and Daniel Hooker will be walking the Hillary Trail in August.