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Ultra-marathon runner to raise awareness of child abuse

Ultra-marathon runner straps Buddy to back to raise awareness of child abuse

Coromandel, 16 November 2012 – Ultra-marathon runner, Kerry Suter (BarefootInc), is strapping a ‘Buddy’ to his back while he runs Saturday’s Great Cranleigh Kauri run in Fletcher Bay, Coromandel. [note: 17 November].

Kerry, a resident of Cambridge, is running the 70km ultra-marathon, which is expected to take him over seven hours. He has been picked as one of the top contenders vying for this year’s winning title.

The cardboard cut-out child was a Buddy which was part of the annual child abuse prevention awareness campaign, Buddy Day, which took place in Hamilton on Friday, 16 November. The event is in its second year and is organised by New Zealand’s only child protection training organisation, Child Matters.

“With some of the worst statistics for child abuse in the developed world I wanted to do my part to help raise awareness and get people talking about the problem. When I saw Buddy Day coincided with my ultra I leapt at the opportunity to get behind the cause.

“Buddy Day is about adults stepping up and taking responsibility to look out for the kids in our communities. If we see a child that is in an unsafe environment, we need to speak up.

“Hopefully when people see the Buddy on my back during the race, they’ll be prompted to find out more about Buddy Day and how they can make a difference when it comes to child abuse prevention,” explained Kerry.

For more information on Buddy Day, visit or

About Buddy Day:

This year there are 335 Buddies being adopted by Carers on Buddy Day, 16 November. This number represents 20% of the substantiated cases of child abuse in the Waikato last year. Hundreds of other Buddies were cared for in other cities and towns across New Zealand.

Buddy Day has two components:

Buddies are Created, 2 November – 12 November:

• The week before Buddy Day, school children created Buddies from blank, life-sized cardboard cut-outs.
• Each ‘Buddy’ is given its own name and life story that is written by the children who decorate them.

Buddies are Adopted by Carers on Buddy Day, 16 November:

• Carers are adults who adopt the Buddies after they have been decorated, for the day only. This year Buddy Day is 16 November. The hub of the event is in Hamilton.
• On 16 November the 335 Carers collect their Buddies at a breakfast at the Claudelands Event Centre where they are also briefed about their responsibilities for the day.
• Carers take their ‘Buddy’ with them for the day – to the office, to meetings, to lunch, or running errands. The more places the Buddy visits the better!
• When others see Carers with their Buddy, this opens up conversations about the responsibility of every adult in our community to speak up for children and keep them safe.
• Throughout Buddy Day, when Carers have conversations about how adults need to speak up for children, they get people to sign a ‘Buddy diary.’ This is a way to spread the message of Buddy Day and its message about preventing child abuse.
• After the event, many of the schools involved in creating the Buddies ask for them back, and they are returned to them. Carers can also keep their Buddies if they wish. All other Buddies are returned to Child Matters.


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