Sec­ond place for bat­tler

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JESS ETHERIDGE

Richard Har­mon’s eight-hour bat­tle in a top level car­pen­try event, de­spite suf­fer­ing a rare and painful spinal dis­ease, has seen his tal­ents recog­nised.

The 27-year-old Unitec Mt Al­bert stu­dent placed sec­ond in the New Zealand Car­pen­try Ap­pren­tice Chal­lenge re­gional event held on cam­pus last Satur­day.

He was di­ag­nosed in Jan­uary with spinal dis­ease os­teo­chon­dro­sis, which was dor­mant un­til he jarred his back in a fall ( Auck­land City Har­bour News, April 11).

Har­mon says he was told by his doc­tor that he has ad­vanced spinal dam­age for his age and three discs had died.

Bend­ing and heavy lift­ing will make the pain worse over time, mean­ing Har­mon runs the risk of speed­ing up the dis­ease or paral­y­sis.

Re­ly­ing on painkillers, Har­mon, along with 15 other ap­pren­tices, spent eight hours build­ing a gar­den seat at the event. All seats built do­nated to a hospice.

Har­mon came sec­ond to Shaun Mad­dren, who will go on to the na­tional fi­nals in Hamil­ton later this year.

Joe Hede, man­ager of Unitec’s ap­pren­tice­ship train­ing trust, says all of the com­peti­tors did a great job. Hede and a group of builders hope to fundraise to help Har­mon with his stud­ies.

Har­mon has been look­ing into pro­ject man­age­ment as a pos­si­ble ca­reer. He trans­ferred into a dif­fer­ent course, Hede says.

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Photo: JESS ETHERIDGE

Tal­ented: Unitec Mt Al­bert stu­dent Richard Har­mon bat­tled through pain from a rare spinal dis­ease to come sec­ond in the Auck­land re­gional NZ Car­pen­try Ap­pren­tice Chal­lenge.

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