An 8-year-old knows she is lucky to be running in next week's Air New Zealand Hawke's Bay International Marathon after her mum needed a lift from Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter when she went into premature labour with her.

Sophie Frater will be competing in the 3km Kids' Run with her best friend and cousin Kylah Frater, 5.

What makes the run extra special is the duo have signed up to run with Team Rescue Heli, a team running to raise money for Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter.

Sophie and her mum hold a soft spot for the helicopter after they required the service when Sheree Yates was rushed to Waikato Hospital when she went into premature labour.


Four days later, Sophie was born - at just 26 weeks' gestation.

Hawke's Bay Hospital do not take cases as serious as this, so the helicopter was crucial.

"I really wanted to give back to them. When you're in a time of need you're really grateful."

Sophie had a taste of running when she participated in this year's Sanitarium Weet-Bix Kids Tryathlon, while Kylah already had a keen interest in sport and athletics.

But neither of them had ever run as far as the 3km they would have to run come May 14.

"I don't think they quite know what they're in for," Kylah's mum, Shontel Frater, said.

The families have created a Give a Little page to help them raise funds. Initially they set a modest goal of $300, but in just days it has already hit more than $200 so they have upped it to $500.

It is a bit more than the $20 Sophie told her mum she was hoping to raise.

Both Sophie and her mum said they were grateful for the service provided to them in their time of need.

Sophie said she was looking forward to challenging herself and running 3km for the first time.

The Tamatea Primary School student has asthma and respiratory issues due to being a premature baby, so this run will be a huge challenge.

Kylah, who attends Frimley Primary School, has never run more than 650m, which she completed for her school cross country.

She loved to run and was excited about being a part of such a great event, Miss Frater said about her daughter.

A fellow donator, Isabella Thomson, said she thought the girls' effort was awesome.

"These two girls are getting behind fundraising for charities at such a young age."

She said no matter how big or small donations were, every little bit helped.

"It raises awareness that some charities rely so much on donations, and with these girls being so young I hope it shows the younger generations they can make a difference."

Miss Frater and Miss Yates are also giving the run a go. Miss Frater will run with the girls and Miss Yates has signed up for the 10km.

The Give a Little page can be found at