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Sisters in Arms tackle long road to Christchurch for CanTeen


March 21, 2012

Sisters in Arms tackle long road to Christchurch for CanTeen

When Sally Blackler embarks on the long walk from Auckland to Christchurch this Friday, she’ll have some big boots to fill.

She’ll be retracing the footsteps of her late husband Sergeant Nathan Blackler, who completed the same journey eight years ago, starting in Auckland and finishing at Burnham Military Camp, just outside of Christchurch, raising $65,000 for the Child Cancer Foundation along the way.

Nathan, who was in remission from cancer at the time of his walk, decided to complete the fundraising mission as a way of giving back to some of those who had helped him through his journey with cancer.

Sadly Nathan’s cancer returned and he passed away on March 23, 2007.

Now, five years later, his wife, her good friend Corporal Natasha Donaldson and her fundraising team, Sisters in Arms, will take up the challenge again, this time with the funds raised going to CanTeen.

Sally, a social worker for Challenge 2000 and Youth Development Unit (YDU) South, says CanTeen is a cause close to her heart.

“I have so much admiration for the way young people tackle cancer with such strength and resilience,” she says.

“No-one should have to face that journey alone. CanTeen is a vital service for young people who need support when facing the challenges of a cancer diagnosis whether that’s as a patient or sibling.”

Sally’s walk will begin on Friday at 9am from CanTeen’s National Office in Grafton, where she’ll be joined on her first leg by friends, family, CanTeen members and supporters including April Ieremia.

Over the following six weeks she plans to walk around 30km a day, with seven rest days in between, and will reach her destination, the Youth Development Unit Parade Ground at Burnham Military Camp on May 1.

She’s been hitting the streets of Christchurch for her training for the last six months, doing a programme of long distance walks, weights and cardio designed for her by one of Trentham Military Camp’s physical training instructors, Sergeant Davy Forbes, who was a good friend of Nathan’s.

Sally, who also walked alongside Nathan in 2004, says one of the hardest things about the long haul is the mental focus you need.

She hopes to have plenty of friends around her to keep her sane though, with friends and family throughout the country to wave her on and CanTeen members from each of the major centres promising to join her as she passes through.

CanTeen is the only New Zealand peer support organisation for young people aged 13 to 24 living with cancer as a patient, sibling or bereaved sibling.

Donations can be made to Sally’s fundraising group, Sisters in Arms, www.sistersinarms.co.nz or by calling 0900 4 CANTEEN to make an automatic $20 donation.

For more information visit www.sistersinarms.co.nz


© Scoop Media

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