A local athlete whose son was born with a congenital heart defect is so grateful to the medics who treated him that he is raising money for the Cayman Heart Fund by tackling two of the toughest sporting events on the calendar.
With the support of the Cayman Heart Fund, Ben Hart has set himself the ‘Hart for Hearts challenge.’
The Welshman is in training to complete the Cayman Islands Triathlon on Nov. 1 then the 13.1 mile half-marathon on Dec. 6. He will be doing the Olympic triathlon of a 1.5 kilometer swim, 40K bike and 10K run.
Hart’s aim is to increase awareness of the problems families in Cayman face when their baby is born with a congenital heart defect and to raise money to assist them with expenses from urgent pediatric cardiology healthcare.
Three years ago, Ben’s son, Hugo, was born with a rare congenital heart defect which required his family to be based in the U.S. for over three months.
From this experience, this cause has become Hart’s personal campaign.
Every dollar raised will be donated to the Cayman Heart Fund. Statistics in the U.S. show that a child is born with a congenital heart defect every 15 minutes.
Babies with congenital heart defects often have to undergo complex surgeries and sadly, some die every day from the effects.
Hugo’s treatment was in Miami and he was flown there by air ambulance when he was two days old. He had to have stomach surgery at five days old and open heart surgery at three months.
His heart is fully repaired, but he has annual checkups on and off island, said Ben.
Hart reached out to Dr. Sook Yin and the Cayman Heart Fund to help promote his cause and found them to be “very supportive of this new initiative which is much needed in the Cayman community.”
Hart has been training for two months and participated in the triathlon warm-up series, which was well attended. The triathlon discipline he has found to be the toughest is the bike. “It’s not my go-to sport. I have converted a Trek hybrid road bike to a race bike as much as I could. It’s not ideal, but it hasn’t let me down yet. Not as fast as the other cycling regulars though.”
The 39-year-old lawyer only launched his campaign on Monday, and created a Facebook page and he is pleased with the initial response.
Hart has just been contacted by a friend in New Jersey, who saw his Facebook post and will fly down to run the half-marathon with him.
Surfing is his sporting preference, but when the waves are not cooperating, he runs, swims, boxes and circuit trains. “All to keep myself ready for the next surfing session.”
Dr. Yin, a director of the Cayman Heart Fund, said:
“Our Cayman community continues to amaze me when we find families like the Hart family, who in the midst of their own struggles come to terms with the fact that their child is born with a rare congenital heart defect, yet will think of other families who may face the same challenge.
“These families may not have the necessary funds to assist them in medical and surgical treatment, accommodation and travel expenses abroad.”
She added that when Hart approached the Cayman Heart Fund to champion this cause, CHF was extremely appreciative and supportive of his initiative.
“This is very much needed in our community,” she said. “We hope that everyone will donate generously to this worthwhile cause and turn up and cheer Ben to the finish line of both the 2015 Triathlon and Marathon.”
Donations can be made by direct deposit at Cayman National Bank, account number 01111776, in Cayman Heart Fund’s name. Ref: #hartforhearts in the subject reference.