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1 October, 2021

Danny’s a real champion

A dream came true for Mission Beach’s Danny Reed recently when he crossed the finish line at the Ona Mission Multisport Adventure Race to uproarious cheers.

The 21-year-old, who has muscular dystrophy, raced down the beach in a wheelchair pushed by childhood schoolmate, Cody Shaw, as part of a team that came together under Danny’s name.

“He saw people in the Ona Mission t-shirts after last year’s event and said he wanted to do it – he’s been talking about it for a long time, so we made it happen,’’ family friend Sheryl Shaw said.

She recruited her son Cody as the runner and Danny’s carer Angela Dearlove enlisted her son, Jacob, as rider. Then Sheryl phoned a long-time competitor Phil Berry-Porter to see if he could paddle Danny to Dunk Island in a double sea kayak. And Angela’s other son Scott began organising team t-shirts.

“We told Danny he was in the race and to see his face…,’’ Sheryl said. “He was lost for words.’’

With blustery conditions on Sunday, Danny missed out on the paddle, but he was part of the final run – in a beach wheelchair offered to the team the day of the event when Mission Beach Surf Lifesaving Club members learned plans had gone awry.

“He had a great time – he wants to do it again,’’ his mother Jo Reed said. “We’re grateful to Sheryl, Angela and the boys for all the time they put in to make this happen. It worked out really well.”

Adding to the buzz, Danny’s ‘Team Dandiflower’ finished second in the short course team category.

Cassowary Coast Multisport Club president Richard Blanchette said “Captain Danny’s” team had made this year a special one for the event and the community.

“We had competitors from across Queensland here for our ‘adventure in paradise’ but it was this team and all of Danny’s supporters that really heightened the atmosphere,” he said.

Townsville’s Sam Stedman earned another Ona Mission title in the solo long course after four hours and 22 minutes of racing, coming in ahead of Allan Jefferson, also from Townsville, while Mission Beach’s Julie Lightfoot won the long course women’s event ahead of Townsville’s Julia Anderson. In the short course, Brisbane’s Tim Whitburn won the men’s event, ahead of Mission Beach’s Luke Tamblyn and Ben Felan while Kathy White was a hometown women’s champion with Brisbane’s Amanda Attard finishing second.

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