Cancer drivers hit halfway point

By Paul Charman

Paul and Debra-Rose Charman prepare for the Pork Pie trip. Picture / Ted Baghurst
Paul and Debra-Rose Charman prepare for the Pork Pie trip. Picture / Ted Baghurst

If you've seen the iconic Kiwi film Goodbye Pork Pie, you'll be relieved to hear the Driven team has arrived in Wellington without selling off parts from its fabulous 2013 Mini Roadster.

Tomorrow our little convertible joins the Pork Pie Charity Run fleet as it heads for the South Island aboard the Wellington to Picton ferry.

We're raising funds to fight Leukaemia and Blood Cancer and are hoping you can help.

This kind of cancer is a wily opponent once it appears in your rear views, and so it's a cause well worth supporting.

• Every day six New Zealanders are diagnosed with blood cancers, and that's 2200 Kiwis a year;

• The disease can strike anyone, of any age, at any time;

• And leukaemia is also the most common child cancer.

On this year's charity run, one of our drivers is Naomi McRae - in remission after previously being diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Naomi - who shares the drive with her sisters Sarah Hemsley, Miriam Tuck and Hannah Hemsley - wants to acknowledge the excellent care she received from Leukaemia and Blood Cancer NZ.

"LBC provided a support nurse who I spoke to on the phone quite a bit," said Naomi.

"Rebecca Weeks came to see me while I was having my chemotherapy treatment and provided relevant books, explained terms used by the doctors and, for support, linked me with people going through similar experiences.

"She organised seminars from medical professionals, such as how to manage infections like colds and flus when you have no immunity because of the chemotherapy treatment. Rebecca also provided support groups for my family also which really helped them cope with the impact of my illness and such life-changing news."

Naomi's escape from cancer was as dramatic as that scene in Goodbye Pork Pie, when the Mini evades the police by leaping from a railway siding into an open freight car at 45km/h.

Thanks to the fondness people hold for this harmless piece of movie anarchy, and the big hearts of New Zealanders when it comes to supporting a great cause, the Pork Pie Charity Run has been steadily growing in popularity.

It attracted 37 Minis in 2009, 40 in 2011 and 47 this year.

"Previously most teams were from north of Wellington and there was one from the South Island," says co-organiser Rod Harris.

"This year, we've got entrants from Invercargill, Dunedin, Darfield, Timaru, Wellington, Taranaki, Hawke's Bay, Auckland and Northland. For the first time they're coming from all over New Zealand, rather than just the north really, so that's pretty special.

"We've even had folk doing the run for the second and third time."

On Good Friday the Mini drivers had an epic Kaitaia to Taupo journey amidst the Easter traffic. The route from Taupo was via National Park, Whanganui and on to Wellington.

Everywhere fellow road users hooted and waved as they saw lines of Minis passing.

Tomorrow we plan to hit Kaikoura; on Monday we arrive in Greymouth; on Tuesday we spend the night in Alexandra and the following day, we're to land in Invercargill for a finale black tie dinner.

It's been hard to decide what's been the star of the run. Is it the stunning scenery?

Has it been these amazing little vehicles, ours being the superbly nippy and stylish 1600cc convertible kindly loaned by BMW?

Or has it been the many Mini enthusiasts - each one a character in their own right - whom we've shared evenings with, at hotels and motels the entire length of the North Island?

Do you know what? It's been all three.

Driven needs your help

To donate to our team, go to porkpie.co.nz/view_group_event_profile/470 or

1) Visit porkpie.co.nz/search_participants

2) Key Driven Magazine into the ''search fundraisers'' box

3) Highlight Driven Magazine to reach our profile page

4) Highlight ''click here to sponsor us'', on the right side of your screen

- NZ Herald

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