Inspirational 15 year old Nicholas Brockelbank (Nic) lives with Muscular Dystrophy and is putting in a huge effort on his bike at the Avantidrome in a bid to raise money for the New Zealand Muscular Dystrophy Association.
He’s been training every week at the Avantidrome since November last year and his mission is to see how many laps of the velodrome he can do in an hour. The Avantidrome has been on board with his quest from the get go. Mark Lucas, Avantidrome Events and Programme Manager says ‘We were first introduced to Nic via the Make a Wish Foundation and were impressed by his drive to go beyond his limits, not only physically but also with his desire to give back and the work that he’s done over the years to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. With the support of The Avanti Bike Shop, we set Nic up with a bike to suit, a cycling kit and track time free of charge so he can train for his big day.”
Lucas goes on to say that whilst many may believe the Avantidrome is the domain of the elite cyclist or fitness fan, it’s much more than that and offers a range of programmes for the community at large.
The Community Trikes programme, run by Aaron Ure is one such example. This programme caters for a wide range of people including the elder, and day support groups from disability services around the Waikato. It’s designed to help people get back their mobility in life. Ure, recently described in the media as an “extraordinary kiwi with a big heart” believes anyone can have an ability. He says “I love seeing the expression on people’s faces when they find they have actually have freedom and control back in their lives. Just even in one area makes a huge difference”.
This one area for Nic has been his bike and he’s a firm believer that track cycling has been a huge contributor to being able to get out of his wheelchair.
Muscular Dystrophy is a neuromuscular condition which in itself is a broad umbrella term that describes a variety of progressive muscle disorders, many of which are genetic and impact families. Symptoms can appear just after birth or for others not until much later in life. They are unpredictable, there are very few treatments available and they cannot be cured.
Nic’s specific condition is Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), a genetic disorder that causes lack of a muscle protein call dystrophin. According to Nic, people with DMD lose strength in their muscles as they get older. Usually by the age of 5 they need a wheelchair, but by the age of 12 they can no longer walk at all. “Since I was 5 I needed to use a wheelchair every day. But when I started High School I found I didn’t need to use a wheelchair anymore. The doctors at the hospital don’t know why this is, as usually DMD progressively gets worse. I believe my cycling has really helped me in being able to get out of my wheelchair”.
If it’s not enough that at 15 years old Nic is walking, he’s about to embark on a challenge to ride the velodrome for an hour. More than most of us would contemplate. And all in a bid to go beyond his own limits and raise fund for a cause dear to his heart.
To support Nic and raise funds for the MDA you can visit his Givealittle page or if you’re in town get down to the Avantidrome on the big day 23rd March 6.30am to cheer him along.