LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill., June 3 /PRNewswire/ -- A congenital heart defect survivor is pedaling his bike across America, beginning June 8, 2010, to raise awareness about congenital heart defects and raise $100,000 in research dollars for the Children's Heart Foundation (CHF).
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"BIKE 4 CHF" -- the journey of Nels Matson, 27, of Bradenton, Fla. -- is a fundraiser of the Children's Heart Foundation, a national non-profit focused on “Saving Children's Lives – One Heart at a Time.” CHF funds the most promising research to learn more about congenital heart defects (CHDs), the number-one birth defect in America, which affects 40,000 births every year and one in every 100 newborns.
Matson will ride his road bike 3,709 miles, from California to New York, in 43 days. Along the route, Matson will meet up with and ride alongside CHF supporters of all ages in 15 states and encourage them to donate through his Web site, www.athletes4heart.com.
The Children's Heart Foundation has named Matson its first ever "KID 4 CHF," in honor of Matson's BIKE 4 CHF ride. As Matson crosses the country, he will invite other KIDS 4 CHF to sign his road bike, so they can "ride with him" along the way. KIDS 4 CHF are children who have been diagnosed with a CHD, or who were diagnosed with a CHD at birth and have passed away, who inspire other kids and families facing a diagnosis.
When Matson was three years old, doctors were concerned with the sound of his heart. He was diagnosed with an uncommon congenital heart defect and underwent surgery. He received a clean bill of health at age five and today is remarkably active. Matson wrestled for Iowa State University, and in 2009 began raising funds for the Children's Heart Foundation through endurance races.
In BIKE 4 CHF, Matson will stop in cities across America for meet ups and quarter-mile ride-a-longs with CHF supporters, and to dedicate segments of his journey to local KIDS 4 CHF.
- Santa Monica, Calif.: June 8
- Las Vegas, Nev.: June 11
- Denver, Colo.: June 22
- Omaha, Neb.: June 30
- Davenport, Iowa: July 4
- Chicago, Ill.: July 7
- South Bend, Ind.: July 8
- Columbus, Ohio: July 13
- Pittsburgh, Pa.: July 15
- Philadelphia, Pa.: July 19
- New York, N.Y.: July 20
SOURCE The Children's Heart Foundation