Nephew in­spires cy­clist

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By NI­COLA STE­WART

Mata­mata ac­coun­tant Heath Tap­per is set to com­pete in his fourth Lake Taupo Cy­cle Chal­lenge next Satur­day – but this year has ex­tra mean­ing.

As Mr Tap­per strug­gles 160km around New Zealand’s big­gest lake, he will be think­ing of his nephew Vann and the strug­gles the one-year-old will face for the rest of his life.

Vann was born with con­gen­i­tal heart dis­ease and two weeks ago had open- heart surgery for the sec­ond time.

Though the op­er­a­tion was a suc­cess, Mr Tap­per said Vann has a long way to go and, along with his fam­ily, need a lot of sup­port.

And that’s where @Heart comes in.

@Heart is the of­fi­cial char­ity of the Cy­cle Chal­lenge and is the only or­gan­i­sa­tion in New Zealand ded­i­cated to pro­vid­ing life­long sup­port to peo­ple af­fected by child­hood heart con­di­tions.

Cy­cle Chal­lenge com­peti­tors can sign up to be­come an Ev­ery­day Hero and raise money for the char­ity on­line.

Mr Tap­per is lead­ing the Ev­ery­day Heroes’ fundrais­ing and is hop­ing to fin­ish with a per­sonal best time of 4h 30m.

He first be­came in­volved in cy­cling four years ago when a few work­mates de­cided to train for the Lake Taupo Chal­lenge and he has kept it up ever since.

‘‘It’s a good so­cial sport,’’ he said. ‘‘You go in a group and you can talk to each other as you ride.’’

Mr Tap­per said his fam­ily and his co-work­ers at Candy Gillespie had been sup­port­ive in al­low­ing him time to train for the event.

‘‘It’s a big sac­ri­fice they are mak­ing for me.’’

Fundrais­ing will continue right up to the day of the event and Mr Tap­per says that ‘‘ev­ery lit­tle bit counts’’.

Ev­ery­day Hero: Heath Tap­per is com­pet­ing in the Contact Lake Taupo Cy­cle Chal­lenge and so far has raised the most money for @Heart. In­sert: Heath Tap­per’s one-year-old nephew Vann is an @Heart kid and re­cently un­der­went his sec­ond open heart surgery.

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