Heart-warming motivation

2/06/2015

People take part in the Cardiac Challenge for all sorts of reasons, but Bronwyn and Mick Reid's reason is one of the best – their 11-year-old son Landon.

Born at Cairns Hospital with Truncus Arteriosus in May 2004, Landon was rushed to the Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane two days later. In people born with this condition, the aorta and pulmonary artery have a single origin from the heart, and blood from both ventricles passes into the single arterial trunk.

Other heart issues became quickly evident with Landon requiring his first heart surgery just a week after birth followed by a tough journey through complications and infections. Cared for at the Brisbane Intensive Care Unit for a long time, he received a donor pulmonary artery and valve when he was almost two months old. His mother Bronwyn now describes those early months of his life as “a bit of a tough time”. “It was about four weeks before I could hold him again after his first surgery.”

In his short life, he has endured five heart surgeries and his family knows more heart surgery is ahead. “To look at him now, you wouldn't know anything was wrong. He's a bit small and a little gangly but we just treat him like any other 11-year-old,” she says. The youngest of seven children, when he finally came home for good they all loved and spoiled him like any baby should be loved and spoiled.

Bronwyn and Landon came back to Cairns Hospital in September 2004, four months after his birth which coincided with her 40th birthday. However their stay was brief as a review by the visiting Brisbane cardiologist resulted in a quick return flight to Brisbane. In October, he was finally home for good, although there have been a number of return trips. “It was hard on the whole family – my oldest was in grade 12 that year so it was a difficult time for her. We want Cairns to have top level heart facilities available so no other family has to go through what we did.”

Bronwyn rode in the Cardiac Challenge for the first time in 2014 with her sister Erin and loved it. Husband Mick was “support crew” last year and this year he will be on the bike as well as part of the “We are Family” team. FNQHF Fundraising and Marketing manager Glenys Duncombe said the Reid's story is an inspiration to every rider, volunteer, support crew member and donor on Cardiac Challenge. Cardiac Challenge is an annual fundraising bike ride from Cairns to Cooktown for cardiac services at Cairns Hospital. This year the ride will be held September 19-21.

Cardiac Challenge is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland as part of a dynamic calendar of events throughout the state.

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