Gavin rides “blind” with Bobby McMullen

Gavin 1-r

“Gavin’s day was very special”

Wish Kid Gavin was a healthy and extremely athletic kid until the age of 16 when he oddly passed out at football practice. After multiple episodes, Gavin was taken to a cardiologist and was diagnosed with arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD), an inherited heart disease caused by genetic defects of parts of the heart muscle.

By the time Gavin was diagnosed, his heart was in a dangerous condition. Doctors began treating the teen with medication to control his racing and irregular heartbeats, but to no avail; Gavin only got worse. After doctors tried a pacemaker, and Gavin suffered through multiple surgeries, he was admitted to the hospital so his condition could be closely monitored.

Despite being in the hospital, Gavin’s health was still declining, and he was placed on the heart transplant list. In August, Gavin went into cardiac arrest, and it took medics 40 minutes of CPR to revive the teen enough to place on life support. Gavin spent 71 days in the hospital battling cardiac arrest, 40 minutes of live-saving CPR, four open chest surgeries, and days of a medically induced come and paralysis before he finally received his new heart in October of 2013.

Initially, Gavin’s body began to reject the new heart but, with the help of medications, his body adjusted. He finally was able to get back to his passion of mountain biking.

Gavin is such an inspirational kid, and his wish was to meet an inspirational man. Bobby McMullen is an Olympic athlete that has faced his shared of medical struggles. McMullen has survived diabetes, kidney failure, years of dialysis, two organ transplants, cancer, and, just like Gavin, open-heart surgery. McMullen is also blind, but doesn’t let that stop him from downhill mountain bike racing.

Gavin and McMullen started the day with breakfast before heading to Santa Cruz Bicycles for a tour of the factory and testing demo bikes. The pair then headed for a ride, with McMullen’s guide, through the beautiful trails of Santa Cruz.

“Gavin’s day with Bobby McMullen was very special,” says his mom Michele. “It was appreciated more than you know. It truly was an absolutely amazing, adventure-filled time.”

Thank you to the sponsors who helped make Gavin’s wish come true:
• Bobby McMullen
• Ride Blind Racing
• Blue Water Sedans and Limousines
• Santa Cruz Bicycles
• Shadowbrook Restaurant

Gavin is attending college and doing well. His body has accepted the new heart, and Gavin looks forward to the future.

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