Plans well in motion for Tour de Hills

**Tour de Hills is set to go ahead despite the current wet weather. All participants will be sent a text message if organisers call the event off. Stay tuned....**

THERE are some special little children who will benefit from this year's Castle Hill Rotary Club's Tour de Hills on March 3.

The annual bike ride raises money for local charities, but the major beneficiary is the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children's Hear the Children Early Intervention Centre in Rouse Hill.

One such recipient is five-year-old Natalie Matheson, who is one of 16 children who attends the centre to learn how to speak and hear.

At six-months-old she was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder, called Langerhans cell histiocytosis. After 18 months of chemotherapy, antibiotics and high doses of steroids, Natalie beat the blood disorder and has been in remission for four years.

The treatment took its toll on her young body: her kidneys failed; and it destroyed her hearing in both ears.

Two weeks after being diagnosed with hearing loss, Natalie started therapy sessions at the centre.

"From the moment we have come to the centre, Charmaine the therapist has provided us with immense support," Natalie's mother Gemma said.

"She comes here fortnightly to do therapy sessions where she learns to listen, understand and talk.

"Charmaine also teaches us what to do at home and what areas that we should be focusing on."

Natalie has a cochlear implant and a hearing aid and will go to the centre until she's six.

Institute chief executive Chris Rehn said it was important for local initiatives and events to help centres like the Hear the Children.

"Government funding is such a small part of services for disability at this point in time," Mr Rehn said.

"The philanthropy sponsorship is critical to its being. From our perspective, the more the community gets in behind the service, the more that we can extend on that service.

"Especially for the Tour de Hills. It allows not only the continuation of the service but for the growth of that service."

The ride will start from Rouse Hill Town Centre, on Sunday, March 3. It features four routes: 100 kilometres, 60 kilometres, 30kilometres and the family-friendly 13-kilometre cycleway stages. 


You can tweet, Facebook and Instagram your Tour de Hills photos on Sunday - #tourdehills

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