John Nomoa will probably never take for granted the ability to run and play games with his mates. That's because he knows what it's like to not be able to do the things normal healthy, active kids do. The now 13-year-old had a heart transplant two years ago as a result of a genetic heart condition, diagnosed by Cairns Hospital paediatric cardiologist Dr Ben Reeves.
Overseas and interstate participants, as well, appreciate the opportunity to experience the dramatically varying terrain of Far North Queensland in a very "up close and personal" way: from the leafy, sun-dappled Kuranda Range road, winding upwards through lush rainforest to the Atherton Tablelands, across rolling golden savannah lands and on to the shores of the sparkling Coral Sea at Cooktown.
The man who came up with the idea for the Cardiac Challenge, 64-year-old Cairns bus driver, Peter McNally, was born with congenital heart problems and still requires ongoing cardiac care. A cycling enthusiast, Peter persuaded the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation that a fundraising bike ride would be a great way to raise money to improve cardiac care services in the Far North, as well as encourage more people to get into cycling.
Sixteen years ago, a baby girl was born at Cairns Base Hospital. We'd like to say she was healthy, but she wasn't. Baby Jasmyne Stead was born with a rare heart malformation – Ebstein's anomoly. What it means is that her heart valves didn't form properly. And although she has had countless surgeries, it will be a condition she lives with and deals with, forever.