Ollie Ward and Gerard Dorssers are gearing up to walk around Lake Ngāroto in the Waikato for 24 hours to raise cash for two struggling families.

But it will be no walk in the park.

The pair will set off at 8am on Saturday, March 16, striving to loop around the lake 17 times before finishing the same time the next day. Photo / Hunter Calder
The pair will set off at 8am on Saturday, March 16, striving to loop around the lake 17 times before finishing the same time the next day. Photo / Hunter Calder

The pair will set off at 8am on Saturday, March 16, striving to loop around the lake 17 times before finishing the same time the next day.

It will be about 102km of non-stop walking, with supporters sponsoring the men for the extreme feat.

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The two men will be side by side for the entire 24 hours and will do almost anything for a generous donation.

"We might walk part of the track handcuffed together if a sponsor puts forward enough money," Ollie, 28, says.

"If it's for a good cause, we'll probably do it."

The two men will be side by side for the entire 24 hours and will do almost anything for a generous donation. Photo / Hunter Calder
The two men will be side by side for the entire 24 hours and will do almost anything for a generous donation. Photo / Hunter Calder

The men are raising money for the families of 50-year-old Steve West, nicknamed Stubby, and 11-year-old Dayton Harding.

Stubby was a fit, active and hardworking dad and husband until the onset of Motor Neuron Disease (MND) which was diagnosed in 2015.

Over the past four years, he has gradually lost muscle strength, mobility and speech.

The walkathon is raising money for the West family. From left, sisters Taylah and Paige, dad Steve and mum Chris. Photo / Supplied
The walkathon is raising money for the West family. From left, sisters Taylah and Paige, dad Steve and mum Chris. Photo / Supplied

Stubby's wife Chris, says MND is "the world's cruellest disease".

"You're trapped in your body and slowly wasting away," she says.

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MND has no known cure or treatment and one year ago Stubby had to quit work.

With no financial help from the government, and having to rely on one income, the West family is struggling.

Stubby's daughter Paige says the money from the fundraiser will be a big help to the family.

"We think it is fantastic what the men are doing for us and we are so lucky to live in such a supportive community," she says.

"We used to walk around the lake almost every weekend as a family, and now cannot."

Ollie and Gerard, 33, are determined to raise at least $6000 and share the money equally between the two families.

Te Awamutu boy Dayton Harding and mum Karen Nicholson. Photo / Supplied
Te Awamutu boy Dayton Harding and mum Karen Nicholson. Photo / Supplied

The walkathon is also supporting 11-year-old Dayton Harding.

Dayton developed an autoimmune disease one year ago and has been in and out of hospital, suffering from cholangitis, pancreatitis and anorexia.

The family has tried countless therapies, interventions and medications and his current medication costs around $11,000 per year.

Dayton, who also has Asperger syndrome, no longer attends school.

Mum Karen Nicholson says her son "doesn't remember how it feels to be well".

The family is saving money to take Dayton to a clinic in Panama for stem cell therapy.

Karen says the treatment will give Dayton a "second chance at life".

"We want nothing more than to see him pain free, healthy and smiling again."

They hope the treatment will help Dayton with his daily Asperger's struggles, as well as his chronic health problems.

Karen says it's overwhelming to see two men support the family, and the wider community jump on board with donations.

"We are absolutely blown away by the generosity of Ollie and Gerard," Karen says.

"When we told Dayton the news he just asked, 'Why? Why would they do something like that for us?"

Last year the two men shot netball hoops for 12 hours to raise money for a Te Awamutu boy in need of vital medication. Photo / Supplied
Last year the two men shot netball hoops for 12 hours to raise money for a Te Awamutu boy in need of vital medication. Photo / Supplied

It's not the first time the two men have put their bodies on the line for others.

They're getting a bit of a name for themselves around the Waikato for their extraordinary acts of kindness.

Last year they shot netball hoops for 12 hours to raise money for Jai Antis, a Te Awamutu boy in need of vital medication cannabidoil (CBD).

Ollie and Gerard have big dreams and big hearts - they just need the community to come forward with big donations.

"We don't have a lot of money to give," Ollie says.

"We're just being generous in the way we know how."

Gerard says they've started to think about their next big fundraising event.

"We can't seem to sit still," he says.

"We're just like two big kids, really - we're always thinking about our next idea."

"This is not the last you'll see of us."

Ollie's ultimate goal is to start a charitable trust and organise more fundraising events to help local families.

"There are a lot of people out there that could do with some help," he says.

For now though, it's one foot in front of the other as Ollie and Gerard prepare for next month's event.

The men are hoping to attract a crowd of supporters at Lake Ngāroto, with the public invited to join in on a loop around the lake on Saturday, March 16 at 10am.

To make a donation, get in touch with Gerard on 027 505 4008 or Ollie on 027 290 9268 or donate to the bank account 12-3134-0093023-04.

For more information, check out walkathon event on Facebook.

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