Louis was born in June 2015 at Addenbrooke’s Hospital with trachea oesophageal fistula and atresia and a couple of other complications including a complete bilateral cleft lip and palate, a hypo plastic right thumb and a left sided superior vena cava. Louis had two TOF repairs on day two and five due to a collapsed lung during the first surgery. He spent his first few weeks in NICU in the Rosie Hospital and has been under the care of the great teams at Addenbrooke’s since. He has had some 20 operations to date!
He had his first balance bike for his second birthday. From then on, pretty well everywhere he has travelled under his own steam has been on 2 wheels. He joined the local cycle club and triathlon club last summer shortly after getting pedals on his bike. From that point his bike handling skills and endurance have just kept growing.
During our daily exercise in lockdown Louis was either running or riding his bike; covering about 40 miles most weeks around town and the local woodland. When we saw the TOFs appeal for people to take part in Ride London we asked Louis if he wanted to ride to raise money to support TOFs – there was no hesitation. The only decision to make was where to ride. We’d been for a few short rides at Rutland Water, but Louis had this in his sights for Ride London, a full loop would see him cover 23 miles (approximately twice his longest ride to date).
Only just having turned 5 his ride caught the attention of the Ride London organisers and his story was shared on the social media channels. A video interview was arranged and word spread of his challenge. We quickly surpassed the original fundraising target we had set and Louis was receiving encouragement from around the world, including several professional cycling teams and riders. He took this in his stride and it made him all the more determined to train harder ready for the big ride (including indoor turbo trainer sessions on really wet days!)
Louis set out on his ride on Friday 14 August. He was accompanied by dad and grandad around Rutland Water with mum and grandma in the “team car” to keep him fuelled with bananas, jelly babies and water top-ups. Louis ended his ride as he said he would – with a sprint finish along the dam. The ride had taken over 3 hours but his determination to get around didn’t waiver. He was off the bike and running around a park at the end and out the next morning riding the trails through our local woods.
Louis’ ride has raised over £900 for TOFs. He’s ticking off other longer rides and routes now and has set his sights on riding coast to coast along Hadrian’s Wall next summer, inspired by riders we’ve seen “dipping a wheel” having completed the coast to coast in Roker when visiting his grandma and grandpa.
Louis has a can do attitude to everything and has surpassed all expectations. He is an absolute star and an inspiration to everyone to keep going because you can achieve whatever you put your mind to!