No Stopping This Kiwi Kid
11-year-old Tim Hedderwick is like any other kiwi kid – that’s if you put aside the fact he is in a wheelchair. Despite being paralysed from the chest down, this young Bay of Plenty boy gives everything a go.
Brought up on an Edgecumbe dairy farm Tim is your regular farmer’s son, he hunts, he shoots, and he wins plenty of awards in Calf Club. He tears around his family farm in his power chair which his mum Lyndal says is covered in everything imaginable. “Luckily Tim has two chairs, one for the inside and one for out! And that outside chair is most definitely NOT coming inside!” she laughs. Tim also races around in a go-kart with a roll-cage, but that came along after he rolled his four-wheeler!
When Tim was born there was no indication he was going to be a heart kid or paraplegic.
But the Hedderwick’s world was turned upside down at 16 months old. “He wasn’t flourishing,” Lyndal explains. With two older brothers, she knew something was wrong. But it wasn’t until a bout of bronchitis a few months later that doctors diagnosed Tim’s serious heart condition.
He had a delayed coarctation of the aorta as well as cardiomyopathy. And unfortunately, after a series of medical complications Tim ended up a paraplegic.
Because he is very susceptible to getting pneumonia Tim studies school from home through Te Kura, or Correspondence School. It does mean he’s at home all day, but as dairy farmers Lyndal says she and partner Tony are able to always be around. It also means Tim gets to spend a lot of time out on the farm, helping with the cows.
His extraordinary bond with the calves mean he does exceptionally well at the local Calf Club, also evident in the dozens of winning ribbons that adorn his room. “He’s got a really special way with calves,” explains Lyndal. “They follow him around trailing behind his powerchair, it’s quite a sight to see.”
Lyndal says shooting is another area where Tim excels, and they hope through support, it is one area he can focus on, may be even professionally, in the future. She describes Tim as adventurous, independent and courageous. His dream is to become a farmer, and even with his challenges she doesn’t doubt his ability and determination. “We have always included him in everything we do, and while some things are more challenging than others we always include Tim.”
“Heart Kids have helped us in many ways, initially with just being there offering any support, providing valuable information to help us understand what was happening and also what the condition meant.” Lyndal says they receive continual support whenever Tim is in hospital, and they always look forward to catching up with Nana Marie. “You couldn't ask for a better, humble, kind and more generous person than Nana Marie. Even though we’re no longer in Ward 23b she always comes to visit and tells us we’re are still her heart family.”