Fun run raises $8000 for Dream Chaser Foundation

By Sonya Bateson

A fun run held in Whakatane to raise money for the Dream Chaser Foundation has been a great success, raising $8000.

Keri and Ryan Topperwien organised the Chase'em Fun Run in their home town of Whakatane to raise money for the charity established in memory of their son, Chace, who died last June after battling acute myeloid leukaemia.

The foundation aims to support children and their families who are going through cancer treatment.

The run was held on Saturday and hundreds of people turned up to the Mataatua Reserve to either participate, eat a sausage or play on the bouncy castle. Mr Topperwien said the run went "really well" and he and Mrs Topperwien were happy with how everything turned out.

"We had a good amount of people turn up, 172 people had registered to go in the fun run and I would say we had about 300 people that just showed up on the day to buy a sausage or drinks and have a turn on the bouncy castle."

He said $8000 had been raised for the foundation and they were especially pleased that 10 people signed up to be bone marrow donors.

"It was quite a good amount; we were quite happy with that. We will definitely do it again, after talking to a few people we realised maybe the timing was a bit off. People are still a bit poor after Christmas. We were trying to get the holiday makers but next year we will maybe have it at the end of the year or towards the end of February."

The couple were grateful to their sponsors who had supported them throughout their son's battle with cancer, then continued their support with the charity.

Mr Topperwien said Whakatane businesses had been helpful in donating spot prizes and sponsorship.

"We are very thankful for the support from local businesses. If it wasn't for them, the fun run wouldn't have been as much of a success."

They also came close to selling out of their trademark T-shirts in what was Chace's favourite colour, yellow.

"We sold out of all the popular sizes - we didn't anticipate that. We did quite well with merchandise."

Next on the agenda was organising a charity fight night, to be held either in Whakatane or Hamilton. Mr Topperwien said they were also hoping to hold a winter ball, a fashion night for local designers and a motivational speaking night.

He said people from around the country, including Rotorua, had requested a fun run in their home towns, but it was a large undertaking so they would see how they go.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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