“Walk for Wonderboy” Fundraiser
On Wednesday, the 13th of March 2019, Tane and Laura North will set out to walk 700km from Wellington to Auckland in eleven days to raise funds for their son Elijah. Elijah has been diagnosed with microcephaly which means he has a small head due to abnormal brain development, but also has another undiagnosed genetic condition which affects most of his body.
At three and a half years of age he crawls using only his elbows. He does not talk, he is completely tube fed and legally blind. He weighs approximately 10 kilograms. In all, he has 14 health issues including heart and bowel complications.
However, Elijah is making great progress. He is learning how to crawl properly and is getting closer to walking on his own, but lacks balance. He can walk using a special walking frame, although because his eyesight is so poor, he can’t go far before needing help.
Elijah conducts therapy at the NAPA Centre in Sydney. NAPA stands for Neurological and Physical Abilitation. These centres are located in Los Angeles, Sydney and Boston. They are a world renowned therapy centre, which provides three week blocks of intensive therapy utilising methods and techniques that are unable to be provided in New Zealand.
Both Elijah’s parents are Captains in the New Zealand Army. Thanks to excellent fundraising by the RSA and the Army Community, Elijah has already had four three-week training sessions at NAPA in Sydney. The progress he has made by attending these intensive sessions has been amazing; hence the “Walk for Wonderboy” fundraiser to attend more.
The aim is to raise $56,000 which will pay for another four three-week intensive therapy sessions over the next two years. The approximate cost of one three-week session is $11,000 plus flights, accommodation and expenses.
Tane and Laura have three other children: Ellamae, age 10; TJ, age 5; and Thea, who becomes nine months old in March. Thea was born with Down Syndrome. Any additional money raised will allow Thea to also receive some therapy at the NAPA Centre when she is there with her brother.
The walk will begin at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Wellington and finish at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. People are welcome to join Tane and Laura at any point along the way. They will cover roughly 80km per day and do this in 20km legs.
The “wonderboy” team will walk from Wellington to Waikanae on day 1; Himatangi on day 2; Hunterville on day 3; Waiouru on day 4 where we will remain for day 5 prior to resuming our walk to Taupo on Day 6; Tokoroa on day 7; Cambridge on day 8; Huntly on day 9; Pukekohe on day 10; and finally to Auckland on day 11.
Further information can be found on Elijah’s Facebook Page: Elijah “wonder boy” North.