Char­ity walk for good mate

The Bay Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BAY­LEY MOOR

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.

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