HARRY Felstead might only be 15, but he is being described as a “leader among men” by going way out of his comfort zone and riding 330km to Cooktown.
The St Andrews Catholic College student is inspired to ride in this year’s Mt Franklin Cardiac Challenge by one of his teachers, Michael Aitken, who suffered a heart incident in December last year.
Harry, whose mother is a nurse in the cardiac catheter laboratory at Cairns Hospital, said Mr Aitken’s heart incident gave him a shock, as he is such a fit and healthy man.
“Physical exercise is not my favourite thing to do, but I have been doing a lot of training so I know I can do it. I’m not sporty, I am the person sitting in HPE classes in the corner and hating every minute of it. What I’m looking forward to about Cardiac Challenge is the end but also a sense of achievement. It’s for a good cause and the money is going back to support the hospital that we all need,” Harry said.
Mr Aitken noticed a decline in his running performance, and increasing tiredness, over a period of time.
He experienced a discomfort in his chest he attributed to indigestion, which he discussed with his wife (a nurse) how it was associated with exertion, and she urged him to get a medical check-up urgently. That he did, and was kept in hospital for several days awaiting an angiogram.
“I wasn’t showing any of the typical signs of a heart attack and I actually didn’t have one, but my family history and my age made my interventional cardiologist (Dr Anthony Brazzale) want to keep me in hospital for an angiogram,” Mr Aitken said.
His father had died at age 62 of a heart attack and his brother had three stents installed at age 47.
“They took me down to the cardiac catheter laboratory for an angiogram and then Dr Brazzale patted me on the shoulder and said ‘we’ve found a blockage and we’re going to put a stent in’,” he said. “I feel very privileged that Harry feels inspired to ride because of me and I just think he’s a leader among young men and we need more of them.”
Dr Brazzale also will ride in the Cardiac Challenge and is on the fundraising team as Harry – the Cardiac Maniacs.
To donate to Harry’s fundraising visit HERE or to Dr Brazzale’s fundraising page visit: HERE.
Photo: Student Harry Felstead, teacher Michael Aitken and interventional cardiologist Dr Anthony Brazzale say “it’s all about heart”.