Groundswell for charity walk

By Roger Moroney

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SUPPORT: Surrounded by Magpies at Park Island are Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule (left), Jodi Edwards,
Nathan McNabb, Donna Spark, Damon Harvey and Napier Mayor Bill
Dalton. PHOTO DUNCAN BROWN
SUPPORT: Surrounded by Magpies at Park Island are Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule (left), Jodi Edwards, Nathan McNabb, Donna Spark, Damon Harvey and Napier Mayor Bill Dalton. PHOTO DUNCAN BROWN

There was never any doubt about the commitment of the Hawke's Bay Magpies to what they hope will be a "packed park" awareness event set to be staged at the Hawke's Bay Regional Sports Park next month.

It is the annual 'Walk2d'feet for Motor Neurone Disease' and quickly drew support from the Jarrod Cunningham Youth Sport Trust as well as other community groups and, of course, the Magpies.

Jarrod Cunningham was a legend of Hawke's Bay rugby and fought a long and courageous battle with motor neurone disease (MND) until it eventually claimed his life.

The event has also drawn the determined support of Nathan McNabb who has been battling the disease for four years - and he wants to see 1000 walkers turn out to put in support.

"I want the Hawke's Bay walk to be the largest in New Zealand," Mr McNabb said.

"I've been fighting the disease for four years and this awareness gives me inspiration to continue the fight."

Jarrod Cunningham Youth Sports Trust co-chairman Damon Harvey said it was important to support people like Mr McNabb who had been impacted by what he described as a devastating illness.

He said Jarrod Cunningham was adamant he could beat it and that one day there would be a cure.

"Unfortunately, he didn't live to realise that dream but he would be proud of the determination of the likes of Nathan," Mr Harvey said.

The region's mayors are also backing the event, as are the Hawke's Bay Magpies.
Magpie first five Ihaia West said the disease struck one of their own in Mr Cunningham so the Magpies' support of the event goes a little way to getting behind Mr McNabb and others with MND.

"Jarrod was taken too young from MND and had so much still to offer rugby in the region," Mr West said.

"We can't wait to walk one kilometre with as many people as possible to raise awareness for MND."

Jodi Edwards, event organiser and cousin of Mr McNabb, has put the call out for sponsors and entrants for the walk, so that his dream of it being pursued by 1000 people becomes reality.

Local businesses are invited to make a donation and they will be supported at the walk with free advertising.

All schools were invited to hold MND mufti days and she encouraged all sports clubs to attend and promote it in their clubs.

Tamatea High School had already staged such a day and raised about $400.
"We are hoping that people living in Hawke's Bay with MND make contact so we can offer support with the donations made," she said.

Locals able to meet the Magpies, along with food stalls and activities for children.
Entrants are asked to wear blue for the walk and to make MND signs or posters to carry on the walk and best dressed will win a spot prize.

"We have some costs to run the event, which we hope to get covered by sponsors and donations from local businesses, schools, and clubs - it's our goal to make a good-sized donation to the Motor Neurone Association as well has provide financial support to local families that are impacted by MND."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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