Nathan's epic new ride for charity rolls on

Published 10:30am 30 June 2022

Nathan's epic new ride for charity rolls on
Words by Jodie Powell

Nathan McDowall has started day two of an epic ride from Kingaroy to Redcliffe today to raise awareness about the rare Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease and Cerebral Palsy.

Supported by a dedicated team of volunteers led by Margate’s Holistic Horizons founder Drew Cason, the 32-year-old is completing the Ride for Nathan in stages, with the ride ending with a community celebration at Team Musicare at Clontarf on Saturday.

Nathan was diagnosed with Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease (PMD) more than 10 years ago – it’s a rare, terminal genetic condition that affects the central nervous system and is associated with abnormalities of the white matter of the brain and spinal cord.

Holistic Horizons marketing and communications manager Julie Latcham, who also manages Nathan’s social media and marketing, says the first day of Nathan’s journey went well.

“It was excellent – a bit cold, but a great day of riding,” she says.

|“Nathan’s tired, but he did so well – he looked really fit and healthy.”|

On the road again

Day two has started with a barbecue before he hits the road again from the Tingoora Sports Oval.

Julie says lunch will be at Coronation Park in Wondai about 11.30am before the final leg of the day to the Murgon Services Club.

Because it’s not safe for Nathan to cycle along major highways and main roads, Matt’s worked out a route that will allow him to notch up the 190km equivalent to riding from Kingaroy to Redcliffe, with a few detours along the way.

“Matt’s mapped out a way for Nathan to do the right kilometres on safe trails and paths and then we have to get him in a car and transfer to the next place where he can sleep,” Julie explains.

Join the ride

Nathan will start day three tomorrow on the Caboolture Rail Trail, where he’ll be joined by Dr Joel Dulhunty from Redcliffe Hospital on his Penny Farthing – and Julie says members of the community are welcome to join them.

“We’re going from Caboolture to Wamuran and back to the start of the Caboolture Rail Trail and we’ll end up at the Holistic Horizons Hub on Friday night before finishing the ride on Saturday.”

Julie says a celebration of the ride will be held from 11.30am-3.30pm at Team Musicare at Clontarf, with Nathan likely riding in about 12.30pm.

There will be a barbecue and drinks, raffles and a live musician.

Training hiccups

Julie says Nathan and his support worker and ride buddy Matt Bell faced many challenges to get to the start line of this year’s event, with their training schedule derailed by wild weather and health issues.

“Nathan got COVID and was out for a week, then Matt got it as well, so he was out for a week,” she says.

“But before that, Nathan got some sort of infection and needed to be in hospital – on top of his normal schedule of physio and psychologist appointments.

“Then there was all the rain earlier in the year, which meant they couldn’t train, so it’s just amazing to get here.”

The Kingaroy-Redcliffe event follows Nathan’s first major ride last year, from Noosa to Redcliffe.

Julie says Drew was instrumental in organising both rides.

“He used to be Nathan’s support worker before starting Holistic Horizons and Nathan always told Drew his dream was to do a big, long ride, so last year Drew made it happen.”

Nathan’s legacy

Also on Nathan’s support crew for the ride are his father, Gavin, step-mum Robyn, sister Danielle, support co-ordinator Belinda Thornton, Drew’s wife Kylie and Walk a Mile Media’s Jared Bell, who’s filming the journey.

Julie says planning is underway to register Nathan’s ride as a charity to continue fundraising for Leukodystrophy Australia towards research into PMD in Australia.

|“Nathan knows his life expectancy is short, so he always says ‘don’t forget me’.|

“He wants to keep it going even when he’s not here, to raise money for research.”

Donate to Nathan’s ride here and follow his journey here.

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