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Race To Cure Kids Raises $285,000

Race To Cure Kids Raises $285,000

October 6 2006: The Accor $10 Queenstown Race to Cure Kids has raised $285,000 which will help fund a life saving national screening programme for cardiac inherited diseases.

The three day race involving 24 teams of two finished in Queenstown today and Cure Kids general manager Thelma French is overwhelmed with the final tally which far exceeded their expectations.

“Originally I set the target at $250,000 but felt it was too much for the competitors to achieve and my main goal became to beat last year’s final total of $194,000. It is hard to believe just how much support there has been out there and we are so grateful to all the competitors and to the public who have been incredible.”

The race was run by Cure Kids for the first time last year and is based on the original Queenstown $10 Challenge which challenges competitors to make their way from Auckland to Queenstown with just $10 in their pockets.

Cardiac inherited diseases such as long QT syndrome are estimated to claim at least 80 young lives a year in New Zealand. The screening programme means that if the gene is found in a sudden death victim, family members who are also at risk of dying can be tested. If they test positive immediate life saving medication is available.

The winner of the event was Paul Forno of Auckland who was the only returning competitor from last year. He and his team mate Tamar McKewen of Fairfax Ltd arrived in Queenstown at 2.13pm after Paul responded to a challenge for $350, from two last year’s competitors, to bungy jump in his underwear.

Paul’s 10-year-old son Sam suffers from Type 1 diabetes and the pair said they won the race for him. “He told us to go out and win and so we did!”

One member of every team had to bungy jump at AJ Hackett’s site at The Ledge in Queenstown which competitors said was one of the tougher challenges over the three days.

Second place overall went to Sarah Waller and Sacha Letford of Novotel Rotorua who arrived at the finish line at the Mercure Hotel at 2.44pm. They were followed by
Dean Grocott and Glen Erikson of Mercure Wellington at 3.01pm with Lesley Hodder and Christine Bieleski representing Yellow Pages hot on their heels at 3.02pm.

Lesley Hodder says the race has changed her life . “It has added a whole new depth. It was amazing to be doing this for people you don’t even know. It was such a privilege and anyone who ever gets the opportunity should do it. We were absolutely amazed at the generosity of the salt of the earth Kiwis we met who literally emptied out their wallets for Cure Kids.”

The most spectacular finish was made by Steve Birkhead and Steve Kermode of Auckland who travelled the country dressed in nurses’ uniforms. They arrived at the finish line by ambulance complete with siren blaring. They were awarded the best dressed fundraisers’ award.

Ms French says the race competitors went “above and beyond” what was expected of them and in Christchurch alone they raised $5,000.

“They made such an impact and in Christchurch they held an impromptu jamming session with one of the contestants Carly Binding performing along with some of the other competitors. It was a huge success.”

One of the major titles in contention during the race is the champion fundraising title and there was strong competition this year with the trophy awarded to Beryl Robinson of Rotary and her Rotoract team mate Sam Gordon who raised an outstanding $30,342. The runner up trophy was won by David Ross and Matt McLay of Telecom with $28,812.

The perserverance award was made to the team of Clare Dougherty and Katherine Fippard who dressed in penguin costumes throughout the race.

“Nobody thought they would ever last past day one in their big suits,” says Ms French.

The sponsors for the Accor $10 Queenstown Race to Cure Kids are Accor Hotels and Resorts, Fairfax NZ, More FM, Rebel Sport and Telecom. Qantas and Mr Hawk who supplies GPS equipment to each team are supporting the event.

Visit www.curekids.org.nz for more information about donating to the Accor $10 Queenstown Race to Cure Kids.


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