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In memory of her daughter, Nikki Ide of Oakville, Ont., founded Gabrielle’s Ride, a day-long series of cycling events.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

The Donor: Nikki Ide

The Gift: Raising $120,000 and climbing

The Cause:SickKids Foundation

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The Reason:To finance research into pediatric heart disease

When Nikki Ide's daughter Gabrielle went into hospital for treatment for an ongoing heart condition, doctors assured the family she would recover.

Gabrielle was just five years old at the time and she had been born with a congenital heart problem that narrowed her aorta. She had already undergone three angioplasties and dozens of tests when she was readmitted to Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children in 2010.

Doctors felt confident she would be home in two days but her mother was concerned.

"I was very worried and I knew that things weren't right," Ms. Ides recalled from her home in Oakville, Ont. "My mother instinct was telling me something's wrong."

Gabrielle died later that day and it was only after an autopsy that doctors discovered the extent of her heart disease.

Ms. Ide vowed to do something to ensure doctors have a better understanding of childhood congenital heart disease.

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"The only way that we could honour her life was to make sure that there was change so that children like her were listened to and understood in better ways medically," Ms. Ide said.

In 2012, she launched Gabrielle's Ride, a day-long series of cycling events that range from a couple of kilometres up to 100 kilometres. There have been two rides so far, raising more than $120,000 in total. The money will help fund research into pediatric heart disease at Sick Kids.

Ms. Ide said seeing dozens of families work together during the ride reminds her of her daughter.

"That is Gabrielle's spirit. For me that's what I saw in her. She brought out the best in everybody."

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About the Author
European Correspondent

Paul Waldie has been an award-winning journalist with The Globe and Mail for more than 10 years. He has won three National Newspaper Awards for business coverage and been nominated for a Michener Award for meritorious public service journalism. He has also won a Sports Media Canada award for sports writing and authored a best-selling biography of the McCain family. More


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