An eight-year-old boy has learned to ride a bike especially to take on a fundraising challenge.

Harry Coomber wanted to do something to say thank you to the staff at Bristol Heart Institute for taking care of his grandpa after he was treated for a heart attack.

Kind-hearted Harry decided to take on a sponsored cycle to raise money for Above & Beyond - but to do that he had to learn to ride a bike.

After much frustration, Harry took his first proper ride on Christmas Day last year and now plans to cycle as much of the 17.5 mile Camel Trail as he can – joined by his brother, Charlie, mum, Alex, and dad, James.

Harry said: “I wanted to say thank you to the cardiac intensive care unit (CICU) because they saved my Grandpa's life with their amazing magic. I feel very excited about my cycle challenge!"

Harry’s grandpa, Richard McIlvenna, was taken to hospital on 31 October last year after having a number of silent heart attacks.

After three weeks he was transferred to the BHI for what was expected to be a routine triple heart bypass; however after severe complications and a quintuple heart bypass, the family were told Richard would not survive the hour.

Eight weeks later he had beaten all the odds thanks to the “incredible” intensive care staff

Alex said: “My dad was previously very fit, healthy and active so his illness came as quite a shock.

 “I am so proud of Harry for taking it upon himself to organise this cycle challenge to raise money for the CICU.

“I was amazed by his resilience as he sat in the waiting room in ICU. He always had complete faith that the doctors and nurses would save his Grandpa and said if he believed and wished hard enough, he knew they would make him better.

“Right from the beginning he knew he wanted to raise money to help other families going through similar situations in the future. He wanted to choose something that he found hard (cycling) to show empathy for the challenges
faced by staff in ICU.

“It has been wonderful to see Harry create so much enthusiasm for something positive that came out of a situation that was so hard for him at the time."

Harry is taking on the challenge on 9 April. To donate go to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/harryshappyhearts


For more information on fundraising for any of Bristol's nine city centre hospitals, get in touch with our fundraising team on [email protected]