A couple in the NZ Army will be walking from Wellington to Auckland to raise funds for their son's life-changing therapy.
Captains Laura and Tane North hope the long walk will generate a lot of money so their boy Elijah North, 3, can get more therapy at the Neurological and Physical Abilitation (Napa) Centre in Sydney.
Elijah has microcephaly, which means his head is small because of abnormal brain development, as well as an undiagnosed genetic condition with affects most of his body.
He can't speak, is legally blind, is fed through a tube and has had 14 health complications including heart and bowel complications.
Elijah has already made a lot of progress from four three-week intensive therapy sessions at Napa including exercises that put the body into various positions to get a brain response, more traditional physiotherapy and occupational therapy but using a neurosuit technology developed by NASA, and speech and language therapy.
But at $11,000 plus flights, accommodation and expenses per three week session, it adds up fast.
"We knew we had to do another fundraiser," Laura said.
"Elijah loves to walk [with assistance] and it is his favourite thing to do.
"We can walk well, and a lot of able bodied people take for granted how easy it's to walk, so that's where the fundraising walk idea morphed from."
The aim now is to raise $56,000 from #walkforwonderboy mission to enable the next set of therapy for Elijah.
Their epic walk starts on March 13 at the New Zealand Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, in Wellington, before notching up 700km and finishing 11 days later at the War Memorial Museum in Auckland on March 23.
"It's getting quite close now and we're getting a little nervous about how long the walk is," said Laura noting the couple have been averaging 60 to 70km a week training.
She said the walk wouldn't be easy but "there's no way we're not going to get to Auckland" when considering the cause and what Elijah has been through.
"It makes it [the walk] small in comparison.
"All we have to do is put one foot in front of the other."
Laura said the situation with her son, who is a relaxed and happy boy most of the time, hadn't been easy at times.
"But on a day to day basis you adapt and things become the norm.
"Everyone has their own challenges in their family - you child gets sick and that's a big deal for that family - and I guess we have a different, sort of, big deal in our family.
"We've come to the realisation that disability just is, it's a natural occurring phenomenon in society, it just happens.
"So it's just a shift in mindset, you're not trying to fix something that's broken, you're helping him have the best quality in life."
She also praised the support from various quarters especially the wider New Zealand Army community as well as the RSA.
"It has been quite humbling."
Follow the journey on www.facebook.com/elijahwonderboynorth
You can contribute to Elijah's treatment at givealittle.co.nz #walkforwonderboy
Day 1 March 13 Wellington to Waikanae
Day 2 March 14 Waikanae to Himatangi
Day 3 March 15 Himatangi to Hunterville
Day 4 March 16 Hunterville to Waioru
Day 5 Rest day in Waioru
Day 6 March 18 Waioru to Taupo
Day 7 March 19 Taupo to Tokoroa
Day 8 March 20 Tokoroa to Cambridge
Day 9 March 21 Cambridge to Huntly
Day 10 March 22 Huntly to Pukekohe
Day 11 March 23 Pukekohe to Auckland