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Professionals Hit Campaign Trail With Connor

For immediate release


Taking their cue from four-year-old Connor Hourigan of Carterton, staff at the Professionals offices in Auckland and Northland will soon be hitting the campaign trail to raise money for the national Child Cancer Foundation Appeal, from March 27 to April 2.

As this year's 'face' of the annual appeal, Connor will soon become familiar to all New Zealanders through appearances on television and in print advertising. She is asking for the public's help to raise the funds necessary to support all children with cancer – and their families.

Gary Murphy, Professionals Regional Chairman for Auckland/Northland and principal of Property Link Groups in Papakura and Pukekohe, says the real estate group is proud to be associated with Connor's appeal and has been a major supporter of the Child Cancer Foundation since 1995, raising more than $2.2million over that time.

"These funds have gone towards the purchase of two Family Places in Auckland and Wellington, the purchase and maintenance of two Sunshine Lodge holiday homes in Taupo and Queenstown and the purchase of a National Centre in Auckland, which also houses CanTeen, a specialist division of the organisation," says Gary.

Offices throughout Auckland and Northland have come up with a variety of interesting fund-raising events and approaches which involve their local communities and which will benefit children like little Connor.

Connor has bravely battled cancer since a fall at Play Centre led to a discovery far more sinister than cuts and bruises. Three weeks after the accident, doctors diagnosed a Wilm's Tumour in her kidney, and Connor began an intense period of treatment. This included an operation to remove the kidney, followed by several months of chemotherapy. She is still on a cycle of check-ups.

Connor's parents, Rachel and Dennis, and brothers, eight-year-old Dan and one-year-old Hunter, have suffered with her, but are now feeling much more positive. Their bubbly, blue-eyed, pony-mad girl is making the most of life, and has lost the shyness she displayed as a toddler. Connor loves bike rides and picnics with the family, and taking a carrot to feed her special equine friends.

The Hourigans are not left to battle single-handedly with Connor's cancer: they are supported both emotionally and financially by the Child Cancer Foundation. It is the kind of help that really makes a difference. No family is equipped to handle such distressing circumstances alone, and very few have the knowledge and expertise required in such situations. Help is essential, and, thanks to the Foundation, always available.

As it receives no government funding, the Child Cancer Foundation relies heavily on sponsorship and the goodness of the public. Connor's story shows that such support can make a big difference – and the little girl and her family are happy to spread the message.

As part of their efforts toward this year's Appeal, Professionals Manurewa is holding what promises to be a very popular golf tournament on March 31 at the Manukau Golf Club, and will boost takings at the event with a charity auction.

In the Bay of Islands, Dale Simkin, branch manager of Professionals Kerikeri is organising a raffle with a Salt Air helicopter scenic ride as its major prize and a lunch for two at Marsden Estate Winery as second prize. "It's pretty exciting," says Dale, whose branch keenly supports the annual appeal. "We'll be holding a big sausage sizzle as well, with a dixie band nearby to entertain passers by."

The Professionals in Takapuna – Jigsaw Realty – will be out in force, says principal Craig Warburton. "We're going to extensively walk the streets. We'll be going wherever we're allowed to go, visiting everywhere and everyone we can." The office collected an impressive $4000 last year, and Craig and his team are all set to equal or better that this time. "We're going to storm Takapuna!" he declares.

Diane Osborne, principal of Professionals Waiuku, has been involved with the appeal for many years now. "We get a very good response," she says. "People give generously for a cause like this, and we have a lot of fun. This year we're fund-raising all day outside the local New World supermarket, in conjunction with Foundation people. We'll also be doing a 'street wander', collecting from pedestrians and in local businesses and pubs."

Waiuku's branch manager Brian Barrett says: "The Child Cancer Foundation is a great support network for children and families in need. It's such a tremendous cause – we're more than happy to support it."

Gary Murphy says the Professionals group is wholeheartedly behind the cause: "When child cancer strikes a home, it is truly devastating. The whole family needs help and support – life is suddenly very frightening for everyone involved.

"The Child Cancer Foundation does a superb job in providing both practical and emotional assistance – just ask anyone who's experienced it. It's impossible to exaggerate the importance of the Foundation's work for these families.

"Professionals staff really believe it's our role to give something back to the communities we work with, and collecting for the Child Cancer Foundation Appeal is one of the ways we can do that. We will all be out there collecting with a lot of love in our hearts for the children and families who will benefit from our contribution."

All branches will be involved in fund-raising during Child Cancer Foundation Appeal from March 27 to April 2, and numerous activities are planned. Professionals is proud to join Connor in her very worthy cause and ask the public to donate generously.


March 14, 2006

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