One Fitness 24/7 take Ice Bucket Challenge for Dexter Heffernan

Caption: Staff at One Fitness 24/7, Kiama take the ice bucket challenge to raise funds for Dexter Heffernan. Picture: Phil Winterton

Caption: Staff at One Fitness 24/7, Kiama take the ice bucket challenge to raise funds for Dexter Heffernan. Picture: Phil Winterton

KIAMA Downs youngster Dexter Heffernan has received a timely donation ahead of undergoing surgery next month. 

Three-year-old Dexter was born premature and suffered Periventricular Leukomalacia, a form of brain damage, and as a result now lives with cerebral palsy and impaired vision.

At 13 months Dexter was also diagnosed with cancer and underwent chemotherapy and surgery after lesions were discovered in his liver and lungs.

Dexter’s conditions have left the youngster with reduced mobility. 

He will eventually use a wheelchair to get around.

One Fitness 24/7 at The Sebel Harbourside, Kiama faced the ice bucket challenge on Sunday,  raising$4270, enough to buy a beach wheelchair for Dexter. 

General manager Nichole Andrews  said members had raised this money in a week.

The members bid on which staff member they wanted to pour the ice over, handing around a donation bucket each day at the gym.

‘‘We got nominated for the challenge, all of the staff,’’ she said.

‘‘We decided we were going to donate to a local charity... We decided if we’re going to raise money we may as well do it properly, and someone at the gym suggested Dexter.

‘‘We just wanted to give back to the local community, thought we’d give back to the locals.’’

Ms Andrews said Dexter’s cause would be their nominated charity going forward.

‘‘We met the family and got to meet Dexter, so it was lovely.

‘‘All kids want to go to the beach, and now he can go with his family.’’

Dexter’s mother Lenice said the gym had aimed to raise enough for the wheelchair after seeing Dexter’s wishlist online.

‘‘It will basically mean we can access our local beach, Jones Beach,’’ she said.

‘‘I can’t take his pram down there.’’

Mrs Heffernan said her son had been doing well, despite another recent stint in hospital with pneumonia.

He will also have surgery on October 7.

‘‘He’s got to have his femur cut and put into place,’’ she said.

‘‘Hopefully it will help put his hip back into place... It will take about 18 months to get back to pre-surgery state.’’

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