Dad of two David Rhodes, along with his brother Andy, has completed the epic feat of climbing three peaks in Wales, and cycling in between, to raise funds for a charity which has helped his two children.
David and his fiancée Rhian Davies are parents to Efa and Jac, who were both born with heart problems. The couple have been supported by Heart Heroes, which helps children with congenital heart conditions and their families.
David, a maths teacher from Ammanford, and Andy, who lives and works in Germany, spent a weekend climbing first Snowdon, then Cadair Idris, and finally Penyfan, scaling a total of more than 2,300m.
Not only that, they cycled the distance between each peak, covering some 240km. The brothers’ dad, Steve, acted as backup support, making sure they managed to cycle from peak to peak and keeping them on schedule.
Their friends and family – including Rhian, Efa and Jac – were there at the end to cheer them on, and Jac even accompanied them up Penyfan.
David said he wanted to do the challenge to raise money for Heart Heroes, which has a hub in Wales. They started at 5am on a Friday in June and completed the challenge around 5pm on Sunday.
“I’ve done the Welsh Three Peaks before, but that was driving between each one. This time, I wanted to do something more challenging and to do it for Heart Heroes,” said David.
“When Efa was born, it was difficult for us, and even though people were lovely and want to help it was hard for them to understand exactly what we were going through. With Heart Heroes, it was so nice and reassuring to speak to people who had the same experience.”
Efa, who is now 18 months, was diagnosed with coarctation of the aorta at Rhian’s 20-week pregnancy scan. She underwent corrective surgery eight days after she was born, and may need further surgery when she is older.
The family were advised that older brother Jac, who is four in July, could also have a heart condition. Tests revealed that, although outwardly fit and healthy, he may have atrial septal defect (ASD) – a hole in the heart. Jac is now awaiting an MRI scan for a formal diagnosis and treatment options.
David said: “We had no idea anything might be wrong with Jac too, but we were advised to all get checked and it seems Jac may have ASD.”
Kelly Cornish, who set up Heart Heroes, said she was very grateful to David and Andy for all fundraising effort. “The guys have done a fantastic job, we are really impressed. For us, it’s as much about raising awareness as raising funds, so other families in Wales know we are there to offer support, if they have a child or children with a heart condition.”
So far, David and Andy have raised around £2,800 but are aiming to get to £3,000. To sponsor the Rhodes brothers, visit https://tinyurl.com/2p83fdkv. For more information about Heart Heroes, visit https://heartheroes.co.uk/.