Bond University swimming coach, Zander Hey, has selflessly trained swimmers at Bond University Pool for seven years.
But when news filtered through that Zander and his family needed a little help of their own, the broader Bond community was more than happy to oblige.
More than 80 swimmers dove in the deep end to ‘Swim for Elliot’ in a swim-a-thon designed to help raise much needed money to help Zander’s son, Elliot, who was recently diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2.
This extremely rare genetic muscle-wasting disease effects the part of the nervous system that controls muscle movement and function.
As recently as five years ago Elliot’s diagnosis would have been particularly grim, but thankfully science has now found ways to give Elliot a start in life that didn’t exist until recently.
Treatment will help, but it still presents significant challenges.
In addition to the administration of medication via lumbar puncture every four months, Elliot will also be in the care of a large team of specialists including neurologists, a speech therapist, physiotherapists, a genetic counsellor, a dietician, occupational therapists and more. The Hey family home will need modification and they’ll need a new car and other equipment to manage day-to-day.
So the Bond University community climbed atop the blocks without even waiting for the starter’s gun.
Zander said he was in awe of the kindness shown by the Bond community since Elliot’s diagnosis six months ago.
“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind for us as a family,” he said. “But the support we’ve received from the swimming community, and from Bond Sport and from the larger Bond community has been superb. It just leaves us speechless. It’s really lifted us through this time whether it be by messages of support or financial help. And it’s just really reinvigorated our whole sense of community seeing how much we’ve been supported.”
Bond University’s Director of Swimming, Kyle Samuelson, said the outpouring of support for young Elliot showed a special kind of spirit.
“People didn’t need much prompting to help,” he said. “They saw a highly valued friend and colleague in need of a bit of help and they were more than happy to play their part.”
Samuelson said he was especially delighted to see Bond Sport broadly represented.
“We had a stack of Bond swimmers there of course, but it was terrific to have Bond Rugby represented. And there was a large contingent of the new Bull Sharks Netball players in the pool too which was wonderful to see.”