Two people, two bikes, two islands, two weeks and over two thousand kilometres. Rex Faithfull and his partner Fiona Jagiello are cycling from Bluff to Cape Reinga to raise awareness and funds for the Cancer Society, in particular Domain Lodge.
Rex's mother, Kathryn Faithfull passed away in early 2012 after being diagnosed suddenly with ovarian cancer in late October 2011. A mother of three children, Carolyn, Michelle and Rex and wife to Clyde Faithfull, Kathryn was a teacher at the local primary school in Kerikeri and was dedicated to her family.
Kathryn was admitted to Auckland hospital soon after diagnosis. Due to the insidious nature of ovarian cancer and her busy life, her symptoms - bloating, pelvic pain and a general feeling of tiredness - were brushed to one side and it wasn’t until she collapsed at work that she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. After diagnosis, a scheduled hysterectomy to remove the cancerous ovaries instead discovered just how far it had spread. Not long before Christmas, the Faithfull family was given the news that the cancer was terminal and was told she had only a few weeks left to live. Kathryn's determination to fight continued with additional treatment, but this meant she could no longer leave the hospital to spend Christmas with her family, nor be at her daughter Carolyn’s wedding, which she had spent months planning.
Domain Lodge, a Cancer Society run facility located across from the Auckland Hospital provided accommodation for the Faithfull family during this difficult time. For Kathryn's family, Domain Lodge became a home away from home and their rock. Clyde stayed at the Lodge for the duration of Kathryn's stay in hospital and the family was able to park at the Lodge to visit Kathryn.
Domain Lodge recognised the heartache the family was suffering and offered support beyond what could be expected. Christmas 2011 was held the Domain Lodge with family flying in from the South Island, Sweden and the UK. The Lodge was able to accommodate the extended family for what would be Kathryn's last Christmas. In addition, with the news that Kathryn could no longer travel to her daughter's wedding, with less than a week to go, the wedding was moved from the Bay of Islands to the Domain Lodge and was held in their gardens. This allowed Kathryn and Clyde to walk Carolyn down the aisle and is a moment the family will never forget. This went beyond the call of duty for the staff of Domain Lodge to accommodate such a large event with little notice. The staff recognised that with the little precious time left, the final moments for Kathryn would be treasured by the family forever.
Rex, along with his partner Fiona, wish to channel Kathryn's determination and spirit by cycling the length of New Zealand from Bluff to Cape Reinga in two weeks which will require completing an average of over 150km per day. By doing so, they wish to raise awareness for the Cancer Society and ovarian cancer, as well as raise funds for the Domain Lodge so that other families whose lives are affected by cancer can benefit from the same care and comfort they found from the Lodge. The trip will certainly not be a walk in the park but will represent the struggle that every person who diagnosed with cancer, and their friends and families whose lives are touched by cancer endures. To know that there are places such as the Domain Lodge is a small comfort for those families affected by cancer.
To see the day to day routes clink the links below;
DAY ONE (16 March 2014): Bluff to Lumsden http://www.mapmyride.com/nz/invercargill-southland/day-one-bluff-to-lumsden-route-303179079
DAY TWO (17 March 2014): Lumsden to Wanaka
DAY THREE (18 March 2014): Wanaka to Twizel
DAY FOUR (19 March 2014): Twizel to Mt Somers
DAY FIVE (20 March 2014): Mt Somers to Rangiora
DAY SIX (21 March 2014): Rangiora to Kaikoura
DAY SEVEN (22 March 2014): Kaikoura to Picton
DAY EIGHT (23 March 2014):Picton to Hunterville
DAY NINE (24 March 2014):Hunterville to Taupo
DAY TEN (25 March 2014):Taupo to Hamilton
DAY ELEVEN (26 March 2014): Hamilton to Kaukapakapa
DAY TWELVE (27 March 2014): Kaukapakapa to Waipu
DAY THIRTEEN (28 March 2014):Waipu to Okaihau
DAY FOURTEEN (29 March 2014): Okaihau to Cape Reinga