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Lomu To Spearhead Fundraiser For Special Olympics


Jonah Lomu To Spearhead Fundraiser For Special Olympics

Jonah Lomu (recently announced Ambassador for Special Olympics New Zealand) and Loretta Claibourne (International Ambassador and internationally-renowned Olympics athlete), will be speaking at a Special Olympics fundraising lunch this month. The high-profile lunch will kick-start the charity’s annual fundraising efforts for 2005.

Money raised from the lunch (to be held from midday to 2pm on Thursday 24 March at the SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre) will go towards sending athletes to the Special Olympics New Zealand National and Asia Pacific Invitation Games in Christchurch in November/December 2005. The National Games are the pinnacle event in the Special Olympics calendar year, and offer athletes the opportunity of a lifetime - to represent New Zealand internationally at the world games. The next games event, the Summer Games, will be held in Shanghai in 2007.

Both Loretta and Jonah have had to strive to overcome difficulties in life and have persevered against the odds. Loretta was born the middle child of seven children in a poor, single-parent family, partially blind and with an intellectual disability. The discovery of her own running ability and involvement in Special Olympics changed her life.

“We’re both here to offer inspiration. I find Loretta’s story truly inspiring – as I am sure everyone else does too. I was asked to get involved with Special Olympics to inspire athletes, but instead I’ve been inspired myself, “ says Jonah.

“I love the Special Olympics oath – ‘let me win but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt’. To me, that epitomises the true spirit of sport, the joy of competition, of striving to do your best,” says Jonah.

Special Olympics New Zealand Ambassadors Beatrice Faumuina, Melissa Moon, Dick Quax, Jayne Kiely and new recruit Nigel Avery, as well as executive supporters from a range of New Zealand companies, are also expected to attend the fundraising lunch next week.

The event marks the start of Special Olympics New Zealand’s annual street appeal taking place this year on 1 and 2 April. Volunteers are currently being sought to help collect donations at key retail and entertainment destinations in Auckland, Tauranga and Hamilton.

As part of the Special Olympics schools athletics calendar this year, and leading up to the National Games, there will be a ribbon event on Wednesday 23 March at Ericsson Stadium to be attended by some 200 athletes from 14 Auckland Secondary Special Schools (located around west and north Auckland). A similar event will also be held at Massey Park, Papakura, on 5 April, for central Auckland and Counties Manukau area schools.
The ribbon days enable students to compete in various athletic track and field events, such as running, long jump, shot put, and softball throw. Loretta Claiborne and other Special Olympics representatives are expected to attend to support and encourage the participants. As major sponsor SKYCITY Auckland has volunteered 25 staff members to assist as track officials.

SKYCITY Auckland has supported Special Olympics since 1996 and provided almost $2 million in funding to this hard-working organisation. To mark the Special Olympics fundraising effort, the Sky Tower will be lit red and green from the 21 – 31 March.

To register your support or for more information please email Richard@p10.co.nz. You can also make donations to Special Olympics and find out about volunteering your time to support sports programmes on line at - http://www.specialolympics.org.nz
027 447 9499 E-mail: angusm@specialolympics.org.nz

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