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Tuesday January 9 2018


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Fun run to support cancer kids When you run, walk, jog, rollerblade, or push your friends on a bed at the Star Media City2Surf in March you’ll be helping 10-yearold Jonty Gray and other children like him. Andrew King reports

UPBEAT: Star Media events manager Vanessa Fleming and Jonty out for a run.

IN MARCH last year, Juliet and Hamish Gray got some of the worst news a parent could receive – their eight-year-old son had cancer. Jonty Gray had been “offcolour” for a few weeks and was having regular headaches. On a family trip over Easter weekend last year he became breathless while walking up a hill and developed bruises on his body. His family returned from Wanaka and took him to Christchurch Hospital where he was diagnosed with T-cell leukaemia. Fast-forward 21 months and the 10-year-old’s outcome is looking positive after numerous hospital visits, about six to nine months of intensive chemotherapy, and plenty of

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support from his family, friends and hospital staff. In March next year, Jonty has been asked to sound the horn which will start thousands of participants off in the Star Media City2Surf fun run. It seems fitting considering his role as an ambassador with partner charity, the Child Cancer Foundation. Participants will be able to start their own fundraising pages or join the ‘courage team’, which will be fundraising on the day, or make a one-off donation. Those who have signed up for the event can also visit the Child Cancer Foundation tent and receive a post-run sports massage by giving a donation. Mrs Gray, who is a dentist, said Jonty is responding well to chemotherapy, which he will finish in July 2019. Then doctors will monitor his

bone marrow and watch for any side effects from the medication used to treat his cancer. When he first started showing signs of being unwell, it wasn’t apparent at the start just how sick he was. “We just told him to drink more water and go to bed earlier,” Mrs Gray said as he was complaining of headaches. When he was admitted to hospital, he was diagnosed straight away. “You think it can’t be happening to your family, but then that is not true as two to three children are diagnosed with cancer each week,” she said. About a week later, Jonty started his treatment, but he wasn’t letting it get him down. The creative boy came up with ways to amuse himself while in hospital. •Turn to page 6

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