Ipswich: Courageous Heather inspires dad’s epic 900-mile bike trek

A loving father is drawing inspiration from his teenage daughter as he prepares to embark on a massive challenge.

Heather Offord, 14, was born with Goldenhar syndrome which meant that one side of her face did not develop fully.

Having undergone more than ten operations, including have her tongue untied as a toddler, the Thurleston High School student tackles her condition with a smile.

Today, her father, Richard, is preparing for a task which will see him cycle more than 900 miles from John O’Groats to Land’s End in aid of the group that offers support to families effected by the rare condition.

Mr Offord, of Clive Avenue, told the Evening Star that he was “nervous, yet excited” for his first ever fundraising event.

“Heather is completely my inspiration for taking this on,” he said. “It is my way of giving back to the support group which have been on hand to offer us any advice that we might have needed throughout the years.

“It is something that is very close to my heart, but I am still a bit nervous about it – nervous, yet excited.

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“I haven’t done anything like this before, but I have been training for it since Christmas – racking up the miles gradually.”

The brave teen has undergone treatment at Ipswich Hospital and Great Ormond Street – with other vital operations including an ear reconstruction and lengthening of her jaw.

Mr Offord will take on the mission alongside Craig Bolton, who lives in the Midlands, and Graham Taverner, of Swindon – both of whom have children suffering with Goldenhar.

He added: “She really is an inspiration to me, she is such a character.

“She has been through more than I could put up with but she faces it with a smile and gets on with it.”

The trio of intrepid adventurers hope to complete the challenge within 12 days. They will set off on May 28.

To donate to Richard’s cause, visit www.everyclick.com/ goldenhar_jog2le_sponsored_cycle.

n Have you got an inspirational story to tell? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters @eveningstar.co.uk

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