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Walking Stars in Auckland CBD Night-Time Half Marathon

Thousands Become Walking Stars in Auckland CBD Night-Time Half Marathon

Fundraising walk set to exceed targets and benefit cancer causes

The unique and dynamic cancer charities fundraiser Walking Stars will return again this year – with hopes to raise in excess of $350,000.

The inaugural walk last November raised more than $280,000, and event organiser Mel Lloyd expects to far exceed that total this year.

“Our registrations go live today and already many of those who did the walk last year are lining up to do it again. It is such a fun way to raise funds, challenging yourself on a 21km walk, all the while knowing you are doing it for two amazing cancer charities.”

Starting at sunset on November 22, in Auckland Domain, the 21km course will pass by some of the city’s dynamic night-life, with participants dressing up with glow-in-the-dark accessories.

“What really resonates with participants is the bib they wear on their back, with a dedication on why they are a walking star. Some do it for people who have survived cancer or remembering someone they loved. And there are work social clubs doing it as a fundraising and team building event, as well as bootcamps and walking groups wanting to achieve something different.

“Last year we had almost 2,000 people take part. It would be great if in our second year we can grow that even more.”

Registration is $65 with participants getting a walking shirt, $40 Shoe Science voucher and training schedule. They are encouraged to commit to raise $150 for two cancer charities – The Cancer Society of New Zealand and Look Good Feel Better, with 100 per cent of those funds being distributed nationally.

“Today [subs: June 25] it is 150 days until the event, so that is only $1 a day. There was such an amazing atmosphere last year – and the people out in the city were really encouraging. It is all for such worthy causes,” Mel says. “It’s a walking event so all ages can do it, and running isn’t allowed. Cancer treatment isn’t a quick win, it’s a hard-fought marathon.”

It wasn’t until Sarah-Jane O’Neil went through cancer treatment that she realised how much charities do for patients and their families. The Devonport single mum was diagnosed with thyroid cancer just days before Christmas 2012, and although she has had successful treatment, she lives with the fear that it will return.

“I have had to come face to face with my own mortality and the fear of my little boy being left without a mother is embedded in me,” she says. “I want to say thank you to the thousands of people who took part – and to those walking this year. What you are doing really makes a difference to people like me.”

Matt McGregor and his wife Shelley are taking part in Walking Stars again this year – in remembrance of his dad John who lost a long battle with cancer in January 2013.

The Howick pair did the walk in 3 hours and 15 minutes last year and Matt says it was a fantastic, fun night.

“Through Ponsonby and the waterfront the atmosphere was fantastic, everybody was out there cheering, saying ‘keep it up’. It was really motivating.”

The event is being sponsored by Perpetual Guardian, who provide wills, enduring powers of attorney and trusts, whilst enhancing charitable giving.

“We distributed $35m to charities in the last year on behalf of our clients, making Perpetual Guardian the largest trustee company donor in New Zealand,” John McFetridge, Director of Personal Client Services, says. “Our aim is to encourage more people to think about leaving charitable gifts when writing a will, so that we can make legacy giving a social norm.”

To register for the Walking Stars walking half-marathon starting at sunset on November 22, go to www.walkingstars.org.nz and for the latest updates and training advice, go to www.facebook.com/Walking.Stars.NZ

ENDS

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