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17 September, 2021

A challenging family affair

SHANE and Kai Pue have more in common than most.

They work together, they’re father and son. They also have cardiac conditions. They also are each other’s inspiration and are riding in the cardiac fundraising, the QSuper Cardiac Challenge this September.

Shane had always had a heart murmur but when he had a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) in 2016 it was discovered he had a few holes in his heart. His condition is now being managed with medication.

Shane and wife Tania’s daughter Jasmine and son Kai both had open heart surgery aged just nine months old. Jasmine is now being closely monitored by the Cairns Hospital cardiac team.

And Kai is driven by his heart condition to be the fittest, healthiest and strongest he can be. He had his first heart surgery at age just nine months.

At age 17, Kai’s valve wasn’t working as well as it should have but when surgeons went to repair it, they discovered a well-hidden, benign mass.

It turned out the mass was damaging his valve. Kai was desperately hoping for a biological valve which means you can still play contact sport.

“Unfortunately, I woke up with a mechanical valve which put an end to soccer, and I struggled with this for a while, but I know they made the best decision for me, from a medical point of view,” Kai now 21 said.

He also had a pacemaker installed five days later to help keep his heart beating regularly.

“I have lived my whole life facing heart problems, many emergency hospital visits and constant setbacks to this day. As much as it’s hard to accept some days, this has made me who I am today.

“My message to anyone that sees this is that no matter how hard life gets, there is always a way to turn things around! Find balance, create healthy habits, live outside your comfort zone! Life will always knock you down, find that inner strength to stand back up and keep going.”

Father and son run B’lieve Fitness Cairns together and also will be riding their bikes to Cooktown together.

Shane has ridden the event before, including on a tandem bike but this is Kai’s first time.

“After years of training and building my strength, the QSuper Cardiac Challenge will be my first fitness milestone to
participate in.”

 Funds raised through this year’s QSuper Cardiac Challenge will go towards a ventilator for cardiology, a lung function testing system and an endobronchial ultrasound system for respiratory.

Hosted by the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, the QSuper Cardiac Challenge will see the Far North Queensland community rally together to ride the 333 kilometres from Cairns to Cooktown in September.

People can donate to their fundraising efforts here:

Foundation Financial Controller Joe Cristaldi said the pair’s story was stunning but inspiring.

“People like this father and son are inspirational to us. Yes, they deal with challenges in life but they literally get on their bike and do the best they can,” Mr Cristaldi said.

QSuper Chief Executive Officer Michael Pennisi said “QSuper is committed to investing in initiatives which create long-term benefits for Queenslanders.

QSuper looks after the retirement savings of many Department of Health employees in the state’s far north and we are proud to support an initiative that helps our members working in cardiac health provide state-of-the-art care for
their patients.”

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