The second of BMXA’s four-part series shares the story of a brave boy and his love for BMX at the Nerang club.
COVER PIC: Friends Jensen Bentley, Jasmine and Christian Payne. (pic courtesy of Greig Payne)
Christian Payne and his family joined Nerang in 2017 and have never looked back after being swallowed whole by community spirit at the Gold Coast club.
The best part about the BMXA community is that its arms are open to any individual no matter their ability, experience or condition.
Born with cystic fibrosis, a genetic respiratory condition affecting mucus in the lungs and the digestive system, nine-year-old Christian needs to be kept in excellent health and keeping him extremely active is a major benefit.
To put it into perspective, a good day for Christian includes 40 tablets, physiotherapy and around a half hour of treatment. Something the family needs to be cautious of are colds and flus. What may be seen as a minor illness to most people can be extremely severe for Christian, due to the mucus in his system becoming thicker and causing infection.
His father Greig explained that Christian had tried many sports in his life such as soccer and AFL, even including gymnastics, which he still does once a week. But his real salvation began when he started touching the BMX track two years ago.
“Our friends got us involved in BMX in 2017 at Nerang,” Greig said.
“Christian has always had a passion for something with two wheels. Mountain biking was fun, but a downside with cystic fibrosis is that a lot of soil can have bacteria in it and that ruled out motocross and the likes.
“A great part about BMX is that there is no commitment. We don’t lose money or have to do make up sessions, we also don’t feel as if we are letting a team down in other sports when Christian can’t make a game. But it’s not too bad if he misses a coaching day or race day.
“Another benefit of the Nerang track is that is has a slick surface, which eliminates dust and lung infection.
“The physical activities that BMX bring to Christian are perfect. Compared to other games and sports, there’s not as much exertion and racing gives his lungs a great work out.”
“He was struggling to find a sport he enjoyed, and he couldn’t get into and embrace a sport, whereas BMX, he loves it. Every single day he is watching the videos on the BMXA YouTube playlist from finals of the national series.”
There’s no surprise that Christian loves racing BMX. The rush of adrenaline can get anyone excited, but alongside his love of the sport, there are also incredible medical benefits that come from being on the bike.
“He is in the best physical and mental health he has ever been,” Greig continued.
“The amount of exercise from BMX is the main reason he hasn’t had an admission to hospital since he joined.
“We also don’t tend to make a big deal of cystic fibrosis for Christian’s sake. From that point of view, no one knows the challenges and he is a lot more focused and passionate about it mentally.”
Like the Bentley’s (the first story of BMXA’s four-part series), the Payne’s social life has flourished since joining the BMXA family, with friendships being created and prospering, providing as many benefits away from the track, as on it.
“Off the track, there is a very strong social environment at Nerang. Our other friends have gotten involved, like the Bentley’s,” Greig said.
“Because we are at the track as an entire family, Christian’s sister Jasmine has begun riding and she loves it too. It’s easy as a family at Nerang. We can all be at the track together and everybody there makes you feel welcome.”
No matter your skill or ability, there is a place for everyone at a BMX club. Not many sports can offer that special inclusive environment… that’s a sport we can get around.
If you missed the first story of our series about the Bentley’s – CLICK HERE
Meet Mark ‘Stoney’ Stones, another BMXA member who bravely rides BMX with CF – HERE
If you’re all up to date, check the BMXA website and/or its social media platforms on Friday and Monday for the remaining two stories.