Local paediatric consultant Andrew Tometzki is gearing up for the cycling challenge of a lifetime to help raise £150,000 for Bristol’s local hospital charity, Above & Beyond.
The Bristol to Paris Cycle Challenge covers 430km in just four days and with less than a week to go, training rides have become an important part of everyday life.
Tometzki, who conducts outreach clinics with his colleagues throughout the South West including Royal United Hospital Bath, was joined on a recent 85km training ride from Saltford to Salisbury by Dr Ian Jenkins, consultant in paediatric intensive care and anaesthesia, and Andrew Venn, father to Joe one of Dr Tometzki’s patients.
Twelve-year-old Joe was diagnosed with a congenital heart condition at birth. His first shunt was fitted at just 72 hours old, he had a heart bypass aged only four and he will need ongoing treatment for the rest of his life.
The funds raised will provide the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, a specialist centre for families across the South West, with new ultrasound technology to help more children like Joe.
The state-of-the-art equipment will produce 3D images of a heart in real time, enabling complex operations to be carried out with even greater precision.
Speaking about the upcoming challenge, Dr Tometzki said: “It’s definitely going to be tough but I have been driven on by so many of my patients who have shown an immense amount of generosity and support – it’s great to see we are closing in on our fundraising target. I’ll certainly be looking forward to putting the new equipment to valuable use.”
Andrew Venn, commented: “I’ve never really done anything like this before – if I was feeling adventurous it would be a flat ride to lunch but now I’m riding 70km or 100km regularly!
“When you think about it, eight months of your life – training, fundraising and taking part in the Bristol to Paris Cycle Challenge – will give a number of children their whole lives back.”
The incredible challenge will see 80 intrepid cyclists bid ‘bon voyage’ from Bristol’s Clifton Suspension Bridge on Friday (29th April).
Starting from the city centre, they will then travel to their first pit stop in Salisbury before pedalling to Portsmouth and onwards towards Paris.
To find out more about how you can support the trio and help them reach their target of £10,000, visit https://bristoltoparis2016.everydayhero.com/uk/team-cardiology.
You can also follow the riders’ journey on Facebook (Bristol2pariscyclechallenge) and Twitter @aboveandbeyond1.