Second place for battler
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.
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.