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Skaters Roll Together for Tot with PKU

By Aaron Gampillo

A team of Northern Colorado inline skaters led by the organizer of last years Rollin’ for Carter 100 Mile Inline Skate Fundraiser, are rolling out on the trails of Fort Collins on April 25th on behalf of little Nathan Kiely, a tot born with PKU (phenylketonuria).

The Rollin’ for Nathan 100 Mile Endurance Inline Skating Fundraiser has a goal of raising $5,000 for the Nathan Kiely Fund to help Nathan’s parents help cover the cost of Nathan’s ongoing treatment, which is mostly a modified diet to avoid concentrated sources of protein, according to Chris Howley, the event’s organizer and one of the 100 mile skaters.

PKU is a rare metabolic disease Nathan was born with. He’ll never be able to eat meat, fish, poultry, milk, eggs, cheese, ice cream, legumes, nuts, or many products containing regular flour. The disease prevents the conversion of an essential amino acid that causes a toxic buildup of other amino acids that can lead to mental retardation and other neurological problems if untreated.

“Nathan is being treated through a highly modified diet and can expect to develop normally and live a normal life span,” said Howley. He continued, “With that said, his dietary requirements are a very real burden for the Kiely family. When we learned about their situation, we decided to strap on our skates to help support the family by giving the non-profit fund a boost.”

Last year, Howley’s friends, coworkers, family and inline skaters the nation-over sponsored Howley on a pledge-per-mile basis that ultimately raised over $5,000 for the Rollin’ for Carter cause. This year’s event involves more skaters, a more challenging course, and fund-raising contest for students in the school where Nathan’s mother teaches, and a mini-skate-a-thon for kids.

“The mini-skate-a-thon has been the best surprise so far,” Howley said. “We got a call from a parent of one of Mrs. Kiely’s students who heard about the event and asked if he and other friends from his class could skate with us. That’s a dimension we didn’t envision for this year. It’s great when these things take on a life of their own. You never know where they’ll end up!”

The course for this year will be a lot tougher than last year’s route. Howley and fellow skaters Chad Schneider and David Eye can expect a lot of long hills, blind corners, choppy surface and pedestrian and bike traffic. “The recreation trails in Fort Collins are extensive and well used. With CSU here, it gets pretty busy out there. We’re not out to set any speed records, so we’re not worried about accidents, its that there isn’t anywhere to go to get away from the long hills. It’s not going to be a cake-skate, not by any stretch!” The 100 Mile Team will have help pulling on some hills and slowing things down on the worst of the downhill turns with the help of the Fort Collins Speed Weasels Inline Racing Team, and Howley’s 6 year old son Paul.

You can support their effort by making an honor pledge on-line at www.markination.com/rollin_for_nathan, or you can place a pre-paid credit card donation at www.active.com/donate/rollinfornathan. You can also mail a donation to: RCS – Nathan Kiely Fund c/o Ridgeview Classical Schools, 1800 South Lemay Road, Fort Collins, CO 80525. All pledges collected will go directly to the RCS – Nathan Kiely Fund, which is a registered, fully audited 501(c)(3) fund administered by Ridgeview Classical Schools.

Howley stopped to ponder, “Just imagine, you can't have a slice of pizza, a scoop of ice cream, a bagel with cream cheese, a nice piece of salmon, a handful of trail mix, a chicken McNugget. What would your training do to you if your diet were bereft of concentrated protein sources? How could you skate on such a modified diet?” He summed it up, “You are what you eat, and for Nathan, it’s going to be a challenge to define that. We’re glad to be able to use inline skating to help him and his family by contributing to a fund that will get him the food he needs, so he can live a long, happy and healthy life, and some day join us in skating a marathon in Duluth, MN or at least out here on the trails in Loveland and Fort Collins!”

Originally published in Reporter Herald

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