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