Home' Special Publications : Face the Challenge Contents 12 Contact Lake Taupō Cycle Challenge 2011
Doug Simmons in his role as LTCC Trust Chairman and Elite Road Races Director
PROUDLY SUPPORTS the CONTACT LAKE TAUPO CYCLE CHALLENGE
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Doug Simmons on 07 376 5818 or 027 4773 271
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Client references are available.
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@Heart – Official Charity of the
Contact Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge
Help a little heart have a big adventure
Like many school children of her age, Caitlin
Simpson, 8, from Taupo loves to participate in
physical activities and regular kid adventures
like rope climbing and kayaking. However, such
adventures in life can sometimes seem a little out of
reach for Caitlin. She was never allowed to attend
school camp because of her heart condition.
Caitlin would tell her friends that she had a ‘broken
heart’. She was diagnosed with a VSD ( Ventricular
Septal Defect) when she was just two. At the time,
the condition did not affect her and she seemed a
normal child, with no symptoms of her condition
showing at all.
The reality hit when a routine echocardiogram
at age five revealed Caitlin’s condition was more
serious than first diagnosed. She was born with
ALCAPA (Anomalous Left Coronary Artery off the
Pulmonary Artery), a condition where the left
coronary artery is attached to the pulmonary artery
instead of the aorta.
This news was really hard for Caitlin’s mum Trudy
to accept. To now know that her healthy child
actually had a serious heart condition and needed
corrective surgery to save her life was difficult to
In October 2008, Caitlin underwent surgery at
Starship Children’s Hospital to correct her condition.
Trudy said, “ This was to be the longest 8 1⁄2 hours
of our lives. Nothing can prepare you for any of
this - seeing your little girl hooked up to all those
machines in PICU.”
Thankfully, the surgery was successful and Caitlin
recovered quickly from it.
“ The medical team was amazing giving Caitlin
a new lease of life. The family support workers @
Heart have also provided us tremendous practical
and emotional support during the whole process.
They are just a phone call away and are always there
for us,” said Trudy.
Last year, Caitlin returned to Starship to undergo
another procedure as she had been showing signs
of fatigue during sport. While the results came back
with nothing untoward at this stage, it serves as
a reminder than Caitlin will always have ongoing
heart problems and will need annual check-ups
with her cardiologist & paediatrician to monitor her
Caitlin continues to manage her heart condition
and she has decided to join the Heart Rider team
at Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge event again this
year. Even though she may not be able to finish
the distance, she wants to challenge herself and to
raise awareness of the scale and scope of childhood
heart conditions in New Zealand.
This year, funds raised through the support of the Contact Lake Taupo Cycle
Challenge cyclists will go towards helping little hearts have a big adventure at Camp
Brave Hearts, a camp run annually (funds permitting) in Taupo by @Heart for Kiwi
heart kids aged 8 – 12 years.
Camp Brave Hearts is a week-long event for heart kids to just be kids, to do
regular adventurous kid things, and share their challenges in a fun, safe, supportive
environment under the careful supervision of a medical team.
Caitlin is looking forward to her Heart Ride in November and even more so, to going
to Camp Brave Hearts.
Special thanks to the riders who donated to @Heart when registering for the Contact
Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge and to those who have set up a fundraising page.
You can also TXT HEART to ‘2427’ to make a donation.
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