The Wellesley native was born with congenital corrected transposition of the great arteries, an extremely rare heart defect in which the heart twists abnormally during fetal development and the ventricles are reversed.
Fortunately, the surgery at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto was a success, and doctors at the renowned hospital have been able to monitor his condition over the years since – he’s now 20 – with annual checkups.
Now, Mayhew is looking to give back to Sick Kids, with a Skate for Heart fundraiser this weekend at the Elmira Skate Park.
“I’m putting this event on because when I was a baby I had open heart surgery and I’ve gone back to Sick Kids every year for checkups,” Mayhew explained. “When I turned 18 I graduated from Sick Kids and I was no longer able to go back, so I decided to put together an event to start donating back to Sick Kids for helping me to get through that part of my life.”
He added, “I had a really good experience with Sick Kids. The people are great; anything you needed or any questions you had, they would help you out as much as they could.”
An avid skateboarder, Mayhew spearheaded his first fundraiser three years ago in Kitchener’s McLennan Park.
After the Elmira facility opened earlier this year, he began reaching out to Skate Elmira and local businesses for sponsorships to launch the event even closer to home.
“This is my favourite skate park around here,” Mayhew said. “It used to be McLennan, which is where I held my last skate competition, but ever since they made this park, I find it’s way smoother and it’s a really mellow park, very flowing; they did a great job.”
The event on Saturday begins at 10 a.m. Once the crowd fills out there will be a skate competition.
“I’m thinking there will be four age groups to get the younger kids involved, so there will be a younger age group, two teens, and then an adult group,” Mayhew said. “From there, you’ll get three runs. Sanction and Funhouse are bringing their skate teams as well as judges, and I’ll also kind of help with that. So you’ll get three runs and we’ll take the best score of the three.”
Skaters will move through the course beginning at the west end, moving through the obstacles with tricks and grinds, culminating at the quarter pipe – think, large red maple leaf – before heading back to the starting point.
The day will finish with a “Skate” contest, where riders will go head-to-head attempting to match each other’s trick.
Entry to the event will be $15 at the gate, or $10 if you pre-register before Saturday (contact email@example.com), all going to Sick Kids Hospital.
Skate for Heart will begin at 10 a.m. and run through the morning and afternoon July 25 at the Elmira Skate Park on First Street.