Survivor NZ host Matt Chisholm has taken his fight with depression and changed lanes to help courageous new friend Wellingtonian Alice Chambers-Smith raise money and awareness for the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research by running the Queenstown Marathon next weekend.
Chambers-Smith, a 36-year-old mother of two, has brain cancer and has survived several operations. Not only is she fighting the illness so she can see her children grow up, she is also trying to help inspire others through running.
Chambers-Smith hit up Chisholm to run the marathon with her when she saw on Instagram that he hated running but would be running part of the Auckland marathon with his wife Elle to raise money for Starship.
"I left a cheeky off-the-cuff comment saying if he ends up enjoying running he should also run Queenstown and help me raise money too," Chambers-Smith told Spy.
"The fact that he hosted a show called Survivor was also perhaps slightly funny to me because I thought, 'I'll show you what a real survivor is mate'. Once he said he could be talked into it, I kinda chipped away at him until he said 'okay, I went for a run and I feel good...I think I want to do this with you'," she said.
Chisholm, who has a history of helping people, is leaving full-time work at TVNZ to spend more time with Elle and young sons Bede, 3, and Finn, 1, in the small town of Chatto Creek in Central Otago next year.
He said Chambers-Smith's social media call-out was a first — and he loved it. Going south would give him time to visit "the big sky and the place he loves".
"I loved Alice's audaciousness and cheekiness right from the get-go. I loved the fact she called me out. I read a couple of stories about her journey and thought, 'Alice could be any one of us'.
"Through no fault of her own she has brain cancer. I thought that if I'm in a position to be able to help her, I should. Also, running is good for my mind. It's helped me get out of a rut I've been in, so I thought if I could help Alice and help myself, it's a no brainer," says Chisholm.
"This run is also about doing something for me. Taking two days out to focus on me in a beautiful part of the world — but Alice is the real star."
Check out Instagram or the fundraising page: @catch_me_if_you_cancer on Instagram and give.everydayhero.com/nz/alice-tvnz-s-matt-chisholm-run-queenstown-for-brain-cancer.