A CYCLIST whose dream of becoming a professional was crushed after his heart stopped for 25 minutes is battling back by riding 1,000 miles in South America for charity.

Tim Butt, 24, was heartbroken when doctors said he could never race again after he suffered a fit and went into cardiac arrest at Basildon’s A&E department last May.

Doctors spent 25 minutes bringing him back to life. He was put into an induced coma for three days to stop brain damage and spent two weeks in critical care.

Tim had spent two years training to be a professional cyclist and had raced against Olympic triathlon medallists Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee.

However, his plans halted when doctors diagnosed Long QT condition, meaning electrical activity of the heart is disrupted, so Tim is only allowed to exercise socially.

Less than a year after waking from his coma, Tim is now cycling coast-to-coast across South America to raise £15,000 for Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).

Around £8,500 of that will go towards heart screening for up to 300 young people around Billericay to uncover underlying heart issues.

Tim, of Rosebay Avenue, Billericay, said: “It was heartbreaking not being able to cycle competitively any more. There have been a few tears.

"But this has given me another focus. After the life-changing things I have been through, I needed something else.

“I want to raise awarenesss of the charity. It helped me by inviting me to a support group so I could meet people going through similar things.

“As a figure, it’s a challenge, but in six weeks we have raised about £5,000, so we have come a long way in a short time.”

Tim and friend Steven Jones, 23, from Swansea, set off for Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Wednesday to cycle through the Pampas and over the Andes mountains, ending in Santiago, Chile, a month later.

Steven will try and continue the challenge to hike the peaks of Peru and kayak down the Amazon, to complete what the pair dub a CRYathlon.

Tim added: “I’ve enjoyed getting back on the bike socially. I think the highlight will be getting to Santiago, because it will mark the end of the first challenge.”

To donate, visit www.cryathlon.com.