September 11, 2017
Burnham-On-Sea cyclists help Freddy, 4, get crucial heart surgery

A team of cyclists saddled up with Burnham-On-Sea Lions Club to hold a unique event on the town's seafront on Sunday (September 10th) which raised hundreds of pounds for a little boy's vital heart surgery.

The fundraisers held a static sponsored cycle ride on the seafront with the aim of cycling the combined distance of John O'Groats to Land's End in a day - which they successfully completed.

The event was held on Burnham-On-Sea's Esplanade and raised £563 towards the operation for 4-year-old Freddy Vallender from Puriton.

Those cycling were Karl Burkett, Ollie Taylor, Tim Clark steve Clark, Derek Miller with the support of Phil Cross.

Steve told "As soon as we heard about this fundraiser, we wanted to get involved to help the little lad."

Colin Holdum from the Lions added: "There were blustery conditions on the seafront but we have seen lots of generosity today from supporters and passers-by, with some even putting ten pound notes in our buckets."

He added: "It was also wonderful to welcome Freddy along with his family during the day - he is such a marvellous boy who we are keen to help as much as possible."

Freddy has an extremely rare and life threatening heart condition," explained a spokesman.

"At four months, Freddy had a cardiac arrest. The Vallenders were told that there was a 6-8% chance he would survive."

"Astonishingly, Freddy did survive thanks to amazing paramedics and CPR by a neighbour."

"Freddy was diagnosed with a cardiac tumour: a Fibroma in his left ventricle. The tumour is 5cm by 3.5cm. It makes up much of his heart wall and fills 2/3rds of his ventricle. Cardiac tumours occur in only 0.2 percent of the population."

"They are completely random and is not a generic condition. Most children present in the first year of life and unfortunately 33 % do not survive."

"The tumour causes dangerous heart arrhythmias which make Freddy’s heart beat in excess of 200 beats per minute and can lead to sudden death by him going in to cardiac arrest. To date Freddy has had 3 heart surgeries and has a defibrillator implanted in his tummy, but he needs further treatment."

"There is no cardiac centre in the UK that have any experience in carrying out this surgery."

"Boston Children's Hospital in the US is the leading centre in the world. From 1990 to date they have successfully removed 7 fibromas in children whose life threatening rhythms have disappeared once the tumour has been removed."

"Freddy now needs to go to Boston to have lifesaving treatment to remove the tumour."

"The Vallender's have said that having a poorly child changes you as a person: 'You do not dare to look into the future and live in the moment. You face that fragility of life every day'. They now need your help to perform another miracle and get Freddy to America for his operation."

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