Big pain for big gain

Auckland City Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE - By LAU­REN PRI­EST­LEY

STEPHEN Fre­undlich is putting him­self through a cou­ple of hours of pain in the hope it will ease a fam­ily’s suf­fer­ing.

The 41-year-old Mt Eden man will do 1000 burpees in a row on Satur­day to fundraise for the Ti­maloa fam­ily. The chal­lenge will take place at the Aotearoa Mar­tial Arts Academy in Fowlds Park.

Josh Ti­maloa, 7, of Mt Al­bert was di­ag­nosed with liver cancer at the end of Novem­ber. His mother Yvonne says the ex­pe­ri­ence has been har­row­ing but sup­port from friends, rel­a­tives and even com­plete strangers is get­ting them through.

‘‘It’s just a shock to your sys­tem. It was the worst thing I could even think of. We are just hav­ing to learn not to look too far ahead with the ‘what ifs’ and be thank­ful for the right now.’’

Josh was rushed to Star­ship Chil­dren’s Health af­ter go­ing to his GP for a check-up.

The scans picked up a tumour tak­ing up al­most three-quar­ters of Josh’s liver.

The young­ster is now in his 10th week of chemo­ther­apy and is fight­ing the bat­tle as hard as he can, Mrs Ti­maloa says.

Mr Fre­undlich ap­proached Mrs Ti­maloa with his idea to help im­me­di­ately af­ter hear­ing the news.

‘‘He came and of­fered right af­ter I sent emails to friends to start pray­ing. It was still so raw and I was try­ing to come to terms with the whole cancer thing.

‘‘He waited and of­fered again. It was the right tim­ing so we gave him our bless­ing and our sup­port. The fact that he was so per­sis­tent shows the heart of the guy.’’

The fam­ily has been in­vest­ing in health sup­ple­ments to try and keep Josh strong and healthy.

Mrs Ti­maloa had to leave her job when her son was di­ag­nosed.

The sup­port and funds com­ing in from Mr Fre­undlich’s chal­lenge are ‘‘over­whelm­ing’’, she says.

The fam­ily has been lean­ing heav­ily on sup­port from Star­ship staff and the Child Cancer Foun­da­tion, she says.

‘‘It’s not just my friends it’s also Steve’s friends, even com­plete strangers to me, who have got be­hind us. I don’t even know how to say thank you enough for what’s been done.’’

Mr Fre­undlich says the chal­lenge was a way to do some­thing tan­gi­ble.

He kicked off the fundrais­ing with a $500 do­na­tion and hopes to see more money com­ing in soon.

‘‘Ev­ery­one has been send­ing their prayers ev­ery night but we wanted to find a way to help them fi­nan­cially.

‘‘How­ever long the chal­lenge takes it will feel like far too long. I tried to think of some­thing that no­body in their right mind would want to do.’’

Aotearoa Mar­tial Arts Academy owner Char­lie Ta­mati says the burpee chal­lenge fits in with the ethos of the fam­ily-ori­en­tated club.

He has been run­ning the school for 20 years and has trained Mr Fre­undlich since 2011.

‘‘Big ups to him, it’s a big chal­lenge. We al­ways talk about set­ting your­self goals and chal­leng­ing your­self. He al­ready trains hard enough and now he’s got this on top of ev­ery­thing else.’’

Head along to the Aotearoa Mar­tial Arts Academy on Fe­bru­ary 8 from noon to watch the burpee chal­lenge.

Do­na­tions can be made to the Ti­maloa fam­ily bank ac­count 12-3014-0102263-50 or through Stephen Fre­undlich, phone 021 472 872.

Photos: LAU­REN PRI­EST­LEY

Big heart: Stephen Fre­undlich is putting his body on the line to raise money for 7-year-old Josh Ti­maloa.

Stephen Fre­undlich demon­strat­ing one of the 1000 burpees he will be do­ing this week­end.

Go to auck­land­c­i­ty­har­bour. co.nz and click Lat­est Edi­tion to see a burpee demon­stra­tion.

Fight­ing fit:

Still smil­ing: Josh Ti­maloa was di­ag­nosed with liver cancer in Novem­ber.

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