Charity walk for good mate
At just 29-years-old Kerikeri man Gary-John Hill has gone from deadlifting 300kg to battling cancer.
Now close friends are organising a fundraising walk to support Gary-John, (G-J), who has been ranked Northland’s top golfer, and featured on Australian TV show NRL Rookie.
More than $27,000 has already been raised via a Givealittle page and raffles after Hill was diagnosed with stage four Hodgkin’s lymphoma in August. Yeadon Strongman-Waha along with girlfriend Josefina Pantano are organising a 6km walk around Kerikeri to raise funds for Hill.
Strongman-Waha met Hill at Community Fitness Kerikeri, where he was working as a trainer a year ago and they soon became great mates. Hill says he had felt tired for months and lost muscle over a period of time for no apparent reason.
‘‘I slowly went off food and finally found a very small lump on my left clavicle, a lymph node,’’ Hill says.
Hill has gone from being a personal trainer and a manager at Marty’s Golf Range, playing golf twice a week, and training at the gym five times a week, to aiming to walk around the block where he is staying in Auckland for treatment.
‘‘I have chemotherapy most days for two weeks then a week off to let my white blood cell count come back up and my body recover for the next round. It was scary at the start but being posi- tive and the support I have had has made me strong.’’
He has lost 30kg and his hair but the fundraising has taken the pressure off financially so he can focus on treatment, he says. Hill is staying in Auckland with wife Sasha who has had to put her job on hold.
The diagnosis in August was a shock, Strongman-Waha says.
‘‘I knew something was wrong when I didn’t see him on the Monday. He said ‘ I’ve got the blood tests back and I’ve got cancer’. I didn’t know how to take it, I said ‘you’re young and fit how could you get cancer?’’’
Pantano says fundraising is something they can help with. ‘‘We can’t give him a magic pill, but we can help take the weight off financially.’’
The 6km ‘Walk for G-J’ begins at the DOC reserve across from the Stone Store at 11.30am on November 5.
Visit ‘Walk for G-J’ on Facebook for more information.
Gary-John (G-J) Hill.