Fund-raising trio in awe of Kiwis' generosity

By Guy Williams

Lauren Meyer (left), Caitlin Williams and Sarah Freeman hope to raise $7000 for a treadmill. Photo / Guy Williams
Lauren Meyer (left), Caitlin Williams and Sarah Freeman hope to raise $7000 for a treadmill. Photo / Guy Williams

Three young women are spending their summer break riding the length of New Zealand to support a little boy's recovery from a life-changing operation.

Lauren Meyer, Caitlin Williams and Sarah Freeman arrived in Queenstown on New Year's Day after a 68km ride from Robrosa Station in the Cardrona valley.

The Auckland-based trio, all Royal New Zealand Navy servicewomen, began the ride at Cape Reinga on December 11.

They are raising money for Wellington boy Oscar Cakebread, 3, who has spastic diplegia cerebral palsy, a chronic neuromuscular condition that causes his leg muscles to stiffen.

They spoke to the Otago Daily Times yesterday before getting on their bikes for the penultimate leg to Lumsden.

Williams, who was born in Queenstown and lived in the resort for her first four years, said the trio saw the ride as a "bucket list item".

"We like doing challenges."

Wanting to give the ride a fundraising purpose, they found Oscar's family on crowdfunding website Givealittle in April.

As well as Oscar being "bloody cute", his family was struggling to raise money for a rare operation to relieve his condition and to cover the cost of ongoing therapy.

The $100,000, operation, which is not publicly funded in New Zealand, was successfully carried out in London in September.

They hoped to raise $7000 to cover the cost of a specialised treadmill that would aid his rehabilitation, she said.

They met Oscar for the first time on December 20 on their way south and would see him again on their drive home.

Williams said they were amazed by the goodwill of people they encountered on their journey.

"The biggest thing we've learned is how kind and generous people are.

"We've only paid for accommodation once in the 25 nights so far."

Typical of that generosity was the free campsite they were given at Robrosa Station by the organisers of the Rhythm & Alps music festival, where they spent New Year's Eve.

They expect to end their ride in Bluff today.

- Otago Daily Times

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 24 May 2017 17:47:59 Processing Time: 622ms