From the 8th of November to 10th November 2016 Haisley O'Leary, Lisa Tamati and Neil Wagstaff will be embarking on a run across the North Island from Hawera to Havelock North in support of the Samuel Gibson...
Earlier this year our dear friend Samuel Gibson died while doing a training event in preparation for a 330km mission he had planned from the bottom of Mt Cook to the ocean. He was doing this as a fundraiser for a little boy who was born with the same debilitating condiion brittle bones, as Samuel suffered from.
Samuel, myself, Neil Wagstaff and Haisley O'Leary were planning to do this adventrue together. I had the privillege of meeting Sam while doing a speaking engagement in Napier. I saw from the stage this little guy in a wheelchair just grinning up at me the whole time and so afterwards I went and met him and asked him what his story was. Sam told me of his life and battle with brittle bones and said to me, your adventures are just so cool, if you ever want a little guy in a wheelchair rolling beside you while you are doing something epic then I am your man.
I laughed and said, mate are you serious? He just grinned and said hell yes.
The idea enthralled me and Sam and I become good friends and started planning a mission together and came up with the idea to raise money for little Ryuki and his family who needed money for home renovations to help him live a full life. We decided to run 330km Alps to ocean cycle trail. We recruited my mate Neil and fiance Haisley and together we were training and preparing for this mission when tragedy struck and Samuel who was rolling alongside Neil during the Hawkes Bay Half marathon this year. Sams chair inexplicably stopped and threw him out and he sustained fatal head injuries and died a day later.
His whole family and we were devastated and shocked. Samuel was a character who lived life to the full despite his apparent disabilities. He had travelled the world, was married and had two beautiful children and was an executive in a company and an inventor of special four wheel drive wheel chairs. He was a man who was grateful for the blessings in life and never felt disadvantaged or like a victim. He was determined to experience life as fully as he could. He was to us a great role model and mentor and he was just one of our mates.
When he died we were in shock but we decided something had to be done to continue his legacy of helping people with disabilities live full lives. We continued fundraising for little Ryuki and then with his family a memorial trust was set up whose aim it would be to support people with disabilites to live out their dreams and to help them live comfortably in our society.
To this end we decided instead of running from Mt Cook to Oamaru that we would instead run from Hawera (where Samuel was born and grew up to Havelock North where he was living with his wife Jen and two daughters). So now Neil, Haisley and I will be starting the event on the 8th of November. Raising money and awareness, on a very personal note, my mum who suffered a severe aneurysm this year and who was left severely disabled will also be accompanying the team as part of the crew. This is no easy task for someone with such difficulites but we are determined to help her live out her dreams, something Samuel would have encouraged. I am so excited that we can take her with us.
The run will culminate in Havelock North at a big gala fundraising auciton event to be held at the amazing Craggy Range Winery on the 11th of November.
We would love people to get involved by either donating to the givealittle page, code word Hawera to Havelock, visiting the website and keep up to date via our facebook and if you are interested in being a sponsor of this trust and this run please get in touch. We are also requesting donated items for the Auction. So whether you just want to give a dollar or two or have somehting to donate we would appreciate your support.
Givealittle page: https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/haweratohavelock