Ruth is the human interest reporter and a photographer for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Tauranga Red Nose Day nets more than $2000

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Craig Newland, Kemper and Anthony Beatson at The Athlete Factory for Red Nose Day. Photo/George Novak
Craig Newland, Kemper and Anthony Beatson at The Athlete Factory for Red Nose Day. Photo/George Novak

Cure Kids teamed up with Tauranga's The Athlete Factory and were able to raise more than $2000 for Red Nose Day.

Yesterday, teams of young people got involved in activities at The Athlete Factory in Mount Maunganui which helped raise money and awareness for Cure Kids, which funds vital medical research for children.

Event organiser Craig Newland said he had started doing physio with Kemper Beatson, one of the Cure Kids ambassadors for New Zealand.

"It was another way to help Cure Kids and what I have been doing with him is awesome," he said.

They had raised roughly $2000 from the event, he said.

Throughout the day different programmes were run at The Athlete Factory, with guest appearances from Black Ferns Sevens captain Sarah Goss and All Black Nathan Harris and a speech from Kemper about his disease, which causes progressive damage to the nervous system.

Kemper's father, Tauranga man Anthony Beatson, said his son suffered from Friedreich's ataxia.

Friedreich's ataxia is a condition which impacted co-ordination, mobility, speech and heart function, according to the Friedreich Ataxia Research Association New Zealand.

Mr Beatson said the disease, only diagnosed this year, affected Kemper's balance, co-ordination and fine motor skills.

"His mind wants to do things but the messages from his mind to his body don't get to his limbs correctly."

The disease was progressive, he said.

"It will get worse. There's no current treatment it's just basically we have to keep him as active as he can, for as long as we can."

Kemper is a keen rugby player, playing half-back for under 11s this year, but is only able to play half a game at a time before fatigue sets in.

Mr Beatson and his wife were both carriers of the disease, which meant there was a 25 per cent chance of Kemper and his siblings having it.

"We had no idea, even when you have two carriers it doesn't become the dominant gene. We have two other boys, 5 and 7, who are at this stage symptom free."

Mr Beatson said hearing his son's diagnosis earlier this year was pretty rough.

"For the first two or three months, I took it pretty tough because he's ended up with wrong end of the stick and there is nothing we can do about it."

The family have been told a healthy diet, exercise and stretching is the best way to keep the disease from progressing quickly, he said.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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