Top cardiologist goes the distance to give back to the Heart Foundation

Heart specialist Dr Nigel Lever is riding the length of New Zealand to raise funds for the Heart Foundation. As a past recipient of a Heart Foundation Overseas Training Fellowship, he hopes to raise enough to fund a similar experience for the next generation of Kiwi cardiologists.

A picture of Dr Nigel Level astride his bike, wearing a red Heart Foundation t-shirt and a cycling helmet

Dr Nigel Lever is a man with great heart. Rather than using his annual leave to take a well-earned rest, the top New Zealand heart specialist is cycling 3000kms to raise funds for the Heart Foundation.

On 1 March Nigel joined the Tour Aoteoroa Brevet, an annual cycling event in which participants cycle the length of New Zealand.

He aims to raise enough money to fund a Heart Foundation Overseas Training Fellowship for a young New Zealand cardiologist. As a former fellowship recipient himself, he understands the importance of this kind of international experience and knows the benefits it brings to the health service and the New Zealand public.

“The Heart Foundation helped support my overseas training in heart rhythm disorders once I became a cardiologist, so I am hoping to give back to the important work that they continue to fund,” he explains.

Nigel is cycling under the name The Pulse Pirate, a reflection of his area of expertise in heart rhythm problems.

“Heart rhythm problems are common and range from simple annoying conditions through to life threatening ones,” he explains. “I am involved in research and clinical work with common and important conditions such as atrial fibrillation and implanted cardiac devices such as pacemakers, so I see first-hand the impact that heart disorders have on peoples’ lives.”

Even out on the road, Nigel’s mind is never too far from his cardiology practice.

“Cycling through Northland was a real reminder of the challenges some people face in terms of access to healthcare,” Nigel said when we caught up with him near the bottom of the North Island. “We have a number of inequity issues and geography is one of them. Seeing the remoteness of some parts of Northland was a real reminder of that.”

As a self-described ‘commuter cyclist’, this is the first time Nigel has competed in an ultra-distance cycling event. “It’s all a new adventure for me,” he admits.

Please join us in supporting Nigel on his epic journey and help to raise funds for New Zealand’s cardiologsits of the future.

fundraise.heartfoundation.org.nz/thepulsepirate