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Transplant Recipient Diane Plimmer to Be Remembered

Transplant Recipient Diane Plimmer to Be Remembered at ASB Auckland Marathon

It will be an emotional return to the ASB Auckland Marathon tomorrow (Sunday) for heart transplant recipient Keith Eades when he, along with 30 others walk and run the John West 11km Traverse to remember fellow transplant recipient Diane Plimmer, who sadly passed away in January this year.

Eades (Pukekohe) walked the Traverse alongside good friend Plimmer back in 2017, when both were 18 months post-transplant and forging a great friendship that began with a meeting in hospital in 2016 as Keith began his life with a new heart and Diane hers with new lungs. Further bonding the two and their families was the fact they shared the same donor.

That achievement in 2017 was an incredible one and further strengthened the links between their families, with the courage shown by both a great example to them and the wider community, it was a real and deserved celebration of their transplant recovery.

Diane was elated with the achievement back then, with her delight evident in her comments post-race in 2017.

“Keith suggested we do the Auckland 11km to raise awareness about organ donation and of course I was in. What an experience it was, 14,000 people all going over the Auckland Harbour Bridge! We finished and even got a medal (my first ever).”

Keith remembers the first meeting with Diane and the start of a great rivalry between the pair.

“My first actual memory of Diane was in the hospital ward. I was sitting in a lazy boy chair and spotted her walking around. I thought if she can do that, why can’t I? That was the start of the friendly rivalry between us that continued during our time in hospital and post-transplant recovery in Hearty Towers. The weekday visits to physiotherapy in particular became very competitive - both our exercises and the walk back to Hearty Towers afterwards.

“During our build up to 2017 John West Traverse at the ASB Marathon our rivalry continued, with each of us trying to beat the other’s distance walked and duration. On race day we both continued our friendly rivalry.”

Sadly, Diane passed away in January this year. At her wake someone suggested taking part in the John West Traverse event again this year in her memory and so ‘Team Diane’ was formed. Since then the team has grown to the extent that this Sunday, 31 people will be taking part in Diane’s memory.

Diane’s husband Grant Plimmer will be amongst Team Diane on Sunday, and while it will be an emotional expereince for him and the others, it is also about celebrating Diane’s life and achievements.

“I still thank her donor in my heart. Without the opportunity to live a little longer, I would not have been able to create a huge collection of loving memories.

“Six of us did the John West Traverse event over the Auckland Harbour Bridge two years ago and we all had a ball. Di and I also walked the Rotorua tree walk, and the trail through the trees. We biked 23km around the Hawke’s Bay cycle way from Napier to Clive and back. We did the colour run in Napier and so many more walks. Participating in everything we were capable of doing. The opportunity to live again inspired my wife and I dedicated myself to her recovery. I thank my wife for falling in love with me over and over again."

It is not just about honouring Diane and her amazing courage and determination though, it is also important for Team Diane to further promote awareness around organ donor programmes.

To that end Team Diane will be wearing their black ‘have the conversation caps. The team will be wearing the caps to encourage everyone to talk about organ donation with their families, because thanks to the generosity of a deceased organ donor, Diane was able to have two more years with her family and friends making magical memories.

Organ Donation New Zealand spokesperson Rebecca Oliver is incredible proud of Team Diane and all they are looking to achieve this weekend.

“It’s wonderful that Diane’s friends and family are taking part in the John West Traverse in her memory. We thank all of ‘Team Diane’ for encouraging more people to talk about organ donation with their families.”

In total 15,000 participants will line up this Sunday across five different events. Events all take place on Sunday morning and all head to the finish line at Victoria Park throughout the morning and early afternoon. The wheelchair marathon is the first event to get underway at 5:55am on Devonport’s King Edward Parade.

For more on the ASB Auckland Marathon, visit www.aucklandmarathon.co.nz

For more information on Organ Donation, visit www.organdonor.co.nz

2019 ASB Auckland Marathon by the numbers

Start time and location - all Sunday, October 20
5.55am Wheelchair Marathon starts, King Edward Parade, Devonport
6:50am Barfoot & Thompson Half Marathon starts, King Edward Parade
8:50am John West Traverse starts, Smales Farm Bus Station, Northcote
10:45am Fitbit Family 5k starts, Karanga Plaza, Wynyard Quater
11:00am Barfoot & Thompson Kids Run starts, Fanshawe Street.

The Demographics
Close to 15,000 competitors (entries remain open), from 54 countries; Youngest 2years; Oldest 85; Average age 36 years; Female 52% Male 48%; 715 international visitors (5%); Out of Auckland visitors 7%; 15 regions represented from Northland to Southland

The Courses
All information is on the website, www.aucklandmarathon.co.nz but the courses in brief are:

ASB Marathon (including wheelchair) and Barfoot & Thompson Half Marathon – both leave from Devonport and make their way to the Harbour Bridge and to the finish at Victoria Park. The full goes up to Albany on the way before making its way down the bus lane on the motorway. John West 11k Traverse starts at Smales Farm bus station and makes its way over the bridge to the finish line. The Fitbit Family 5k is on the city side of the bridge, starting at Wynyard Quarter before going out on a loop course down Quay Street, returning to the finish line. The B&T Kids Run starts and finishes at Victoria Park (start on Fanshawe Street).

ASB Charity Hero Programme Official Charities
Silver: Cancer Society, Catwalk, Starship. Bronze: Youthline, Save the Children, Blind Foundation Guide Dogs, Mental Health Foundation, Diabetes New Zealand, St John, Red Cross, Heart Foundation, KidsCan

Road Closures
There are road closures on the North Shore and in the CBD, the Harbour bridge remains open to traffic throughout, with the event using a clip on lane to traverse the bridge, for full road closure information and detours, visit www.aucklandmarathon.co.nz Plan days and travel ahead of time and with expectation that there will be some delays.

The first Auckland Marathon was held in June 1936, using an Auckland waterfront course. The race did not become an annual event until 1949, or the 1960s, or until 1992 if the Great Northern Marathon (Takanini) events are not regarded as the Auckland Marathon editions of 1989 to 1991, and it was not until October 1992 that the Harbour Bridge crossing was first used, becoming the first sports event to cross the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

2018 Champions
ASB Auckland Marathon – David Criniti (AUS) and Fiona Yates (AUS)
Wheelchair Marathon – Brendon Stratton, (North shore)
Barfoot & Thompson Half Marathon – Oska Baynes, (Christchurch) and Camille Buscomb (Hamilton)
John West Traverse – Jack Moody (Auckland) and Ruth Gluckman (Auckland)
Fitbit Family Challenge – Jack Adams (Auckland), Sophie Robb (Auckland)

Record holders
Current Course Records (IAAF certified course):
Marathon Men, 2:17:43, Dale Warrander 2006; Women, 2:41:29, Alexandra Williams 2012; Half-Marathon, Men 1:06:19 Matt Smith 2009; Women, 1:13:08 Danielle Trevis 2010

Best Performances:
Marathon, Men, Phil Costley 2:14:03 1997; Women, 2:38:47 Gabrielle O’Rourke 1999; Half, Men, Dale Warrander 1:02:51 2005; Women, 1:11:02 Yukiko Okamoto 1995

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