Mul­tisporters fight­ing for Ruby

Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - ERIN TASKER

Her baby niece be­ing born with a tu­mour on her spine has given Ash­bur­ton’s Amy Fer­gu­son an added in­cen­tive ahead of tack­ling her first big mul­ti­sport event.

Fer­gu­son had chal­lenged her­self to com­plete the Chal­lenge Wanaka half event and was al­ready well into her train­ing when the shock di­ag­no­sis of the tu­mour on baby Ruby’s spine was given to her sis­ter Nicole Hands and her hus­band Steven. Ruby was just 14 days old when the di­ag­no­sis came.

Ruby was born in May and the tu­mour was press­ing on her spine, re­strict­ing move­ment in her legs.

The Hands fam­ily stayed at Christchurch at Ron­ald McDon­ald House while Ruby re­ceived her first round of chemo­ther­apy, and ear­lier this week they headed to Auck­land’s Star­ship Hos­pi­tal where Ruby will un­dergo surgery. It’s likely Ron­ald McDon­ald House will be their home for months.

Fer­gu­son said she felt help­less, not know­ing what she could do. But then, an idea came. She’s us­ing Chal­lenge Wanaka with her work­mate Anna John­son, who is set to do the full event, as a way to raise money. They set up an Ev­ery­day Hero fundrais­ing page with a goal of rais­ing $5,000 for Ron­ald McDon­ald House. As of Mon­day, the page was sit­ting at around $4,500, and their goal­posts had moved to $10,000.

John­son is no stranger to mul­ti­sport en­durance races, hav­ing done the Coast to Coast as both an in­di­vid­ual and in a team, but for Fer­gu­son, who only com­peted in her first half marathon two years ago, the chal­lenge is huge.

Both women aim to give it their best for Ruby, and them­selves.

‘‘I’d like to fin­ish in 13.5 hours, but I’m very clear in my goal – I’m not out to break any records, I’m just out to fin­ish,’’ John­son said.

Fer­gu­son used to be a cy­clist, so that leg is set to be her strong­est. Swimming so far in open wa­ter is a lit­tle daunt­ing, while run­ning is not her friend.

‘‘I’m learn­ing to love it slowly, but it’s the hard­est thing to get out for,’’ she said.

The Hands fam­ily have been thrown a curve ball, and had no choice but to fight, John­son said

‘‘[Ruby’s fight] puts it in per­spec­tive, when you’re out there and it’s a bit sore, or you don’t want to go train­ing.’’

To do­nate, go the Ruby’s Fight page at: ev­ery­day­hero.com.

ERIN TASKER/FAIR­FAX NZ

Anna John­son and Amy Fer­gu­son are tak­ing on Chal­lenge Wanaka to raise money for Ron­ald McDon­ald House.

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