Pedal 4 Kids like Imogen17 April 2018
Keen cyclist Ben signed up for this year’s Pedal 4 Kids for his 14-month-old daughter, Imogen, who has spent a lot of time at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick.
“We put more trust and faith in the Hospital than anywhere else when it comes to Imogen and this is my way of giving back,” Ben told us. “Plus, I'm a keen cyclist too so it's good excuse!”
Just after Imogen was born, Ben and his partner, Melissa, noticed she couldn’t swallow milk and had no interest in food. They knew she needed specialist care, so they took her straight to the Emergency Department at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick.
As soon as they arrived, the Emergency team needed to ensure Imogen received enough nutrition. Doctors inserted a nasogastric (NG) tube through Imogen’s nose so a specially prepared formula could be passed straight into her stomach.
Imogen was diagnosed with gastroparesis – a chronic condition which means her stomach can’t empty itself in the usual way causing nausea, vomiting and problems with digestion.
Over the next months, Imogen was diagnosed with several other complex gastro conditions and had many ups and downs. Unable to feed orally, she had surgery at seven months old to insert a PEG tube through her abdominal wall and into her stomach so she could feed.
“It's a long road for Imogen. We're having a lot of trouble with her vomiting. She won't have the tube out of her tummy until she can prove that she will eat orally and continuously.” -
This year Ben wants to give back to the Hospital through Pedal 4 Kids and he’s fitting in training when Imogen and her brother, Orlando, are asleep. He’s also convinced a friend to sign up with him so they can train together and keep each other motivated.
“We've been trying to get out on the bike as much as possible. We live near the M7 cycle way, so we go up the M7 as far as we can. We try to add 3km per ride each week. I want to get the feel of an 80km ride prior to the event so I can experience what it's going to be like mentally and physically.”
In between working, family life and training, Ben has also found the time to smash the $500 Pedal 4 Kids fundraising target and hasn’t stopped there! His advice to fellow riders is to simply talk about it. He also printed off Pedal 4 Kids posters and left them in his local stores, like bike shops and his son’s daycare.
I used to do promotions for my band so I'm using the same tactics - talk about it, share on social media, hand posters out, make people aware and someone will donate.”
Ben was determined to help Imogen and other kids like her, so using his love of cycling was the stepping stone he needed to get involved.
“I'm just a young dad with a young family trying to do my bit. I joined the ride because the Hospital looks after my little girl. I just really want to give back. I genuinely want to help. I'm not just out for a cycle, it’s a lot closer to home now.”