Tommy Vansteenkiste was born on March 3rd 1982 in a small Belgian town, Gottem where he spent his entire youth growing up. His parents, Patrick and Liliane, still live in the same house which they treat and maintain with the same love with which they treat their children. Patrick works as a specialist brewery mechanic, making sure the supply of beer is ensured for a brewery exporting beer all around the world. Wendy, Tommy’s sister who was born in 1980, is co-owner of a company who specializes in restoration and maintenance of monuments and art. Since she was diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension in 2009, she has become very active in the local PH community as the Vice President of the Belgian Pulmonary Hypertension Patient Organization www.ph-vzw.be. Tommy spends his days working as an IT Product Manager for a company developing the next generation HealthCare Imaging IT solutions. In this role he focusses on reporting and statistical solutions for the HealthCare Imaging market.
After trying soccer and arts, he was bitten by the cycling bug at the age of 15 and started competing as a cyclist in the youth series in Belgium. He stopped age 22 after some crashes and the beginning of a professional career outside of cycling which took him around the world. As an outdoors person Tommy continued to look for challenges by undertaking several multiday hiking trips and mountain ascents taking him to different countries throughout Europe. As Tommy is keen on looking for challenges he is still in the middle of completing GR5, a hiking trip from the Maastricht (Netherlands) to Nice (France), and dreaming of completing at least 3 of the Seven Summits of which one has been completed.
Taking up the passion of cycling again in 2010, Tommy steadily grew his cycling level again and competed in Grandfondo events like Les Trois Ballon, La Marmotte, La Vaujany, La Charly Gaule & ‘de Ronde van Vlaanderen’. As the brother of a PH patient and being addicted to cycling he was looking for a means with which to combine his passions, cycling and hiking, with raising awareness for Pulmonary Hypertension. In 2016 he took his first steps in raising awareness by climbing up Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania for the Getbreathless Campaign. Having already followed Team Phenomenal Hope from their first Race Across America adventure he did not think twice to join Team Phenomenal Hope after seeing a post recruiting for athletes. Having raced for and experienced the vibe and energy from the team in 2017 he is now looking to start a local Belgian branch of Team Phenomenal hope.
At Rad am Ring 2017, Tommy joined Team Phenomenal Hope to race in a 4 person team at the 24h race on the Nürnburgring. The event and the people making part of Team Phenomenal Hope left a great impression. Joining so many people from all over the world who are supporting patients with Pulmonary Hypertension by riding on the vicious track of the Nürnburgring was a highlight moment. Having his sister, on oxygen, on the sideline to support us all only strengthened the feeling of why we are doing this.
Tommy’s motivation comes from knowing that patients suffering from Pulmonary Hypertension climb mountains in their everyday life, just by going up the stairs or doing any task deemed obvious for anyone living in a healthy body. This motivation will push him through the harder moments, or, by extension, life. He sees these patients as an inspiration for perseverance and proof of the phenomenal power of hope!
His main goal is to help raise awareness for, and support patients suffering from Pulmonary Hypertension!