Mooroopna’s Leigh Gladman is about to take part in the experience of a lifetime, all in the name of his son and the organisation which supported the family during a significant health scare.
Mr Gladman’s son Eddie was only seven weeks old when doctors discovered a murmur in his heart, which eventually led to open heart surgery when he was only six months old.
The official name of the congenital heart defect is Tetralogy of Fallot, which caused a hole in Eddie’s heart, but not his spirit.
Mr Gladman and his partner Brigid Mitchell said Eddie, now 16 months old, had coped with his condition extremely well, despite undergoing the major procedure in December.
The couple spent more than a week at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne with Eddie, who has been happily and energetically recovering from the surgery, although he may need further surgeries in the distant future.
‘‘I think he was pretty cool with it, it was probably us that didn’t take it that well,’’ Mr Gladman said.
‘‘There hasn’t been any impact on him, no real developmental impact from what we can see, and the doctors have said he’s been pretty good.’’
Despite the experience being extremely stressful for the family, Australian organisation HeartKids, which supports families through congenital heart disease, helped the family immensely.
Mr Gladman is giving back to the organisation, by taking part in a triathlon in Noosa, where he aims to raise $2000 for the organisation.
He has been training since February for the triathlon, where he will compete in a team, but has decided to complete the three legs himself on November 5.
So far he has raised $1650 for the organisation.
‘‘I’ve been training since February and I wasn’t really exercising at all before, so I’m just really going in gung-ho,’’ he said.
‘‘It was definitely a struggle to start out with, but I’m happy I’ve been able to steadily improve without overdoing myself.
‘‘It’ll be a great way to raise funds for HeartKids, who helped us and Eddie through the whole process.
‘‘We’re just very thankful.’’
If you would like to donate before October 27, visit https://heartkidsnoosatriteam17.every dayhero.com/au/eddie-the- trooper