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59 towns, 76 days, 2219 kilometres – walking NZ to cure kids

August 27, 2012

59 towns, 76 days, 2219 kilometres – walking New Zealand to cure kids

Wanting to mark his 60th birthday by giving something back, father of four Ken Lusby is walking from Stewart Island to Cape Reinga raising money for Cure Kids.

He will walk into some townships with the local mayor and will be coming through your town. And he needs your community’s help.

Ken is encouraging the public to be there to cheer him on and add to his collection bucket. That’s because the Palmerston North man has set himself the challenge of raising $100,000. That money will be given to Cure Kids and will go directly into funding research into children’s life-threatening illnesses.

“It started off as a bit of a challenge for me when I decided to walk from work in Palmerston North to our other store in Feilding, 25kms away,” the Take Note franchisee says. “I had this vision as I walked. ‘I am turning 60 next year, what will be a challenge for me? Why not walk New Zealand?’

“It sounds like Forrest Gump to a certain degree. Once I started I just kept doing it. It got to the stage where I was walking 50kms a day.”

His 60th birthday will be spent as a rest day in Rotorua, during a trek that starts on August 30 in Stewart Island and finishes at Cape Reinga on November 13.

Ken has a support crew of two. Friend John Neal will be driving his Top Taste Chicken n Chips campervan, complete with flashing lights and warning signs, behind Ken as he walks. And taking the lead will be Tony Brown, a regular customer who is going to ride a bike for much of the route, warning oncoming traffic that Ken is on his way.

“If I set my mind to something I don’t back down. Nothing is going to stop me. I will complete the task,” Ken says vehemently.

“When I first started this I said I wanted to raise $200,000 – I have become realistic and on my fundraise online page I have $40,000 but I would be terribly disappointed if I only got $40,000. I am looking for $100,000.

“I want New Zealanders to put their hands in their pocket and be aware of what Cure Kids is about. It covers such a wide spectrum of children’s diseases and cures don’t come quickly or cheaply.

“I have been incredibly lucky to have the support of Adidas, the Stewart Island Experience and the InterIslander is getting me across the Cook Strait …that’s one section I can’t walk.

“My wife Rosemary and I have four healthy children and we need to give something back. I have a love of kids, and I see kids who haven’t had the greater start in life. Your heart goes out to them.”

Ken’s walk in numbers:

50kms takes Ken about 7.5 hours to walk.

The most he will walk in one day is 60km, from Waiouru to Turangi and his shortest non-rest day will be 23km from Cambridge to Hamilton.

The trek will cover 59 towns, 76 days, 2219 kilometres.

Ken's route in North Island
Ken's route in South Island
• Also check out his Facebook page or donate via

About Cure Kids:

Cure Kids invests in vital medical research into children’s life-threatening illnesses.

Approximately one child in 30 is affected by a genetic malformation or life-threatening illness; that’s an average of roughly one in every classroom.

Cure Kids funds research into childhood leukaemia and other cancers, heart diseases, cystic fibrosis, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Type 1 diabetes, asthma and more. These cruel conditions and diseases mean children are often robbed of a normal childhood and have to learn far too early in life how to fight to survive.

Established by Rotary in 1975 as the Child Health Research Foundation, more than $29 million has been invested in research. Cure Kids has achieved breakthroughs that have saved, improved and extended the lives of kids here and around the world.


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