Dean took part in the Nightrider event; which is a through the night cycle across London to raise funds for CHF. His extraordinary commitment and enthusiasm has earned him a place amongst our Fundraising Star ‘hall of fame’.
Tracy of the Children’s Heart Federation said “without fundraisers like Dean we would not have the funds to be able to carry out our work. All of our funding is voluntary and we are humbled by how much time and effort our fundraisers put in to raise funds.
“I’d like to say a huge thank-you to Dean for his commitment, organisation and fundraising flair – you are a star!”
When asked about his motivations for doing the Nightrider, Dean had this to say:
“I only heard of the Children’s heart Federation in December 2012; it was after my son Harrison’s yearly check up on his VSD. On this visit we found out my little lad had a leaky and sticky heart valve. When we asked if there was anything that could be done to correct it, we were told ‘no’ ( not at this stage anyway). This happened right before Christmas and really knocked the stuffing out of us as a family.
“I did some research on the internet and made a few phone calls, and somebody put me in touch with the CHF. Right from the start they was very supportive and put us in contact with other families with children with the same condition. This really helped and for once we didn’t feel alone in facing Harrison’s condition. We were given some great advice on who to contact to get more information at the hospital and how to go about it. With this new information we were also able to keep calm and carry on, and were able to enjoy Christmas.
“I heard about the Nightrider event on the Children’s Heart Federation’s Facebook page in January. After the help we received as a family I wanted to give something back. I had just taken up cycling after advice from my own doctor to help relieve stress. The thought of taken up the challenge and raising some money for CHF gave me a goal and something to aim towards.
“I signed up with a friend of mine and started training -come the snow, wind and rain I was out on the South Downs cycling, and the training certainly paid off!
“I set up a Justgiving page and my friends were able to follow my progress on Facebook and donate money which was great as the money goes straight to the CHF.
“On the night I was very nervous but felt so much at ease when I saw 100s of other cyclists at the Crystal Palace start point. My friend and I assembled at the start point and at 23:20 we were off! We made our way round a well sign-posted and thought-out route with rest stops every 20km. Seeing the sights of London in the dead-of-night was amazing and the first 35 miles flew by.
“After a massive hill climb we arrived at Alexandra Palace (just over halfway ) where we stopped, had a cuppa and a cake, then got back on the bikes.
“The route then started to become very challenging! It was 03:30 and the sky had just started to lighten. The route from here-on-in was very hilly and hard. The Sun was starting to rise rapidly and the birds broke out in morning song, which was amazing to witness; this helped inspire us all on inspite of the hard slog we were facing.
“We passed Abbey Road Studios as we rode back through the West End of London, onto the final stop was at the Imperial War Museum. The last 20km was very hard; it was now 05:10 and most cyclists who were very chatty at the start of the ride (including myself) had fallen silent – digging deep into their energy reserves in-order to finish.
“The last hill on the approach to Crystal Palace was a killer; my leg muscles nearly broke my will. I wanted to walk it, but my friend who had been with me every step of the way just shouted to ‘dig deeper’.
“Towards the end I stopped, had some water, thought of my Son and his heart condition and the reason I was doing this. I pushed myself to ride up that hill and crossed the finish line where I received my medal and a much needed bacon sandwich with a lovely cup of tea.
“On the train ride home back to Brighton I was filled with a sense of pride of what I have achieved and who I had done it for. I would, and will do it all over again for the Children’s Heart Federation. Everybody who has sponsored me have said what a worthwhile cause CHF is.
“I just want to say thank you to the Children’s Heart Federation; you were there when we needed you and my family will never forget that.
“I hope that my story encourages everyone to get on the bike, or run a few miles to raise money for such a worthwhile charity.”