St Albans eight-year-old paying tribute to dad he never knew with charity cycle ride
PUBLISHED: 12:44 11 June 2019 | UPDATED: 12:44 11 June 2019
© Claire Lane Photography 2019
A St Albans eight-year-old is taking on a 10 mile charity cycle in tribute to his father who died before he was born.
Ollie Higman-Hall is cycling 10 miles via the Alban Way to raise money for Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), a charity which aims to prevent sudden death in young people because of undiagnosed heart conditions.
Ollie's dad, Darren Hall, passed away at 30 years old when Ollie's mother, Kirsty, was just nine weeks pregnant.
He was a seemingly fit and healthy man who had a rare heart disease called arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy.
Despite Kirsty's attempts to resuscitate him, Darren died on his way to Welwyn Garden City's QEII Hospital.
Kirsty said she had help from St Albans and District Bereavement Network: "I don't want to get it wrong, I don't want to tell Ollie something that isn't right, but we are very honest with him.
"He knows about what happened and it is a saviour in a way to have Ollie. I had to focus on him and not let it stop us doing anything and fight for everything we do.
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"You get out of life what you put in and I put in everything I have. It was horrendous at the time, but we have to get through it and reach out - I reached out to anyone I could."
Kirsty is now remarried to a Tim Higman, and Ollie has a four-year-old half brother called Theo.
Tim will accompany Theo along half of Ollie's charity ride, and Kirsty will be with Ollie for the full route.
Kirsty added: "Ollie is so excited, he asks every morning how the charity page is doing.
"It is 10 years ago next year since he died, and Ollie wants to remember his dad. He obviously never knew his dad and he struggles with that because he is so like his dad - he is so sunny with people, everyone adores him because is he a wonderful young man, whereever he goes he will chat to everyone."
The Garden Fields JMI School pupil has already raised £750 for CRY.
Chief executive of CRY, Dr Steven Cox, said: "I find it so humbling that people, such as Kirsty and Ollie - who have lost both their husband and dad - are able to see beyond their own horrendous experience to raise awareness of the work we do here at CRY - whether screening, research or bereavement support.
"Their fundraising efforts will play a vital part in helping to prevent other families from having to endure the same devastating grief as they have."
Donate to Ollie's cycle, which takes place on June 15, at tinyurl.com/y2chgcxe