By Tyler Olsen
Morning Star Staff
Mar 07 2007
With four young children, Stephen Murray’s heart literally aches to help them reach their full potential. So every day, the single father pedals around 40 kilometres to deliver his kids to day care, knowing full well the consequences the journey’s take on his own body.
Murray, 43, has Ischemic Heart Disease, which is complicated by exercise induced angina, the painful effect of too little blood flowing to the heart.
Each day, Murray has two to six angina attacks, but every weekday the single father loads his children into the two trailers that attach to the back of his bike, and pedals to two separate day care centres.
Murray first pedals nine blocks uphill to deliver 18-month-old Kenneth and nearly-three Selena to their day care on Cascade Drive. But the nine-block, uphill trek is just a warm-up for what comes next.
Murray then heads down East Hill guiding the bike and two trailers down through town and towards 34th Street, where Murray tackles one of the city’s most grueling hills, all the while towing behind him three-year-old Michael and five-year-old Stephen.
Murray climbs up, up and further up, scaling Mission Hill to reach Brer Rabbit Daycare on 15th Avenue. After dropping Michael and Stephen off, he returns home, arriving an hour-and-a-half after he began ferrying his kids around town.
“It’s very important for me to be able to keep the kids going to their day cares,” said Murray. In the year-and-a-half since the children began attending their respective day-care centres, he said they have made positive strides.
With this in mind, each afternoon Murray repeats the journey in reverse, collecting his children and bringing them home. He estimates that each and every week his journeys total between 165 and 220 kilometres.
The exercise is great for the legs but terrible for Murray’s heart condition, which makes other more routine tasks a problem.
“The heart condition has slowed me down. I have to do everything for a longer period of time and over a greater time span than most people,” he said.
Murray’s story has touched many, including members of Kal Rotary and the Family Resource Centre, who have teamed together to help buy the hard-working dad an electric bike.
Michele Blais, executive director of the Family Resource Centre, said the centre hopes to raise enough money to buy Murray a bike, new helmets and two new trailers.
She said Stephen’s determination to help his children, despite the problems doing so poses to his own health have touched many.
“It’s the strength of Stephen’s spirit. Here he is trying to do the best for his kids by having them involved in the community and here’s a way of helping.”
Blais estimates that an electric bike would cut down the effort needed to get his kids to and from day care by 70 per cent.
And Murray said that will pay immediate dividends for his health.
“It will reduce the strain on the amount of work my heart will do.”
Already, with the help of rotary members, who first heard about Murray’s situation, Blais has raised $900. She estimates that around $2,000 is needed.
Anyone who would like to donate money, or who may have a used, but working, Little Tykes bike trailer, can make a donation at the Family Resource Centre, on the second floor of the People Place.
For more information call the centre at 545-3390.
© Copyright 2007 Vernon Morning Star