How far would you go for a mate?
An extraordinary fundraiser for Big Buddy
In early 2006 four Kiwis raised $45,000 for Big Buddy through their participation in an ultra marathon; the Gobi Desert part of the international RaceingThePlanet series.
‘How far would you go for a mate?’
The answer for three Auckland men was 250km across China’s Gobi Desert carrying everything they need to survive – including each other, if need be. The mission is Troy’s March. The impulse is love of a great mate.
Troy’s March was born out of the friendship between two men – Troy Fisher, who died of Motor Neuron Disease aged 37, on March 13 2006 and Pete Kendall, an ex-Army mate who wanted to do something to honor his friend. Troy asked if Pete would help raise awareness and some much-needed funds for Big Buddy. Having a mentor for his twin seven-year-old boys gave Troy and his wife Elissa huge piece of mind about his inevitable death and he wanted to give something back to the organisation – even if it turned out to be from the grave. But he needed his mates help.
The outcome was that three Kiwis – Pete and his good mates Sam McCready and David Joyce -committed themselves to joining over 30, three-person teams in a foot race across the Gobi Desert near Urumqi in Western China! They were the only Kiwi team in the race, bar an expatriate team out of Hong Kong. The grueling race covered 250 kms and ran over six days from May 28-June 3 2006, traversing rivers, high plains, a mountain, valleys and sand dunes. Competitors carried all their food, gear and clothing while navigating through about 30 checkpoints. Chinese locals dubbed the event The Race of No Return because it is so grueling.
Team Troy’s March want to thank Masport NZ, Huawei International and Pearce Brothers for their generosity and foresight in supporting the cause. Everyone involved in Troy’s March was a volunteer – friends helping friends make a difference.
A special thanks to Tania Bui and Ruth Kerr for their crucial work on the media and sponsorships side. The charity auction that was part of this effort, was a roaring success raising $14,000 thanks to the efforts of Troy’s other mates Mike Taillie, Travis Field and Brian Lomas. In all it was a heroic effort and they did an old mate proud.
TV1 Close Programme did a special feature on Troy’ story , see it here .
Personal note from Richard Aston, Chief Exec Big Buddy
These guys just blew me away! Quite aside from the fact they must be crazy to have done this endurance event, they are the sort of mates any man would wish for.
I met Troy and his family in 2005 well before the disease got a hold on him. I made him a promise that we would find a mentor for his two boys before he died and we did.
Troy has left us now but not empty handed – he left much inspiration behind for us all and I feel privileged to have met him. I know that he would join me in thanking Pete, Sam, David and Scott for honoring his desire to support Big Buddy.
The Troy’s March team were honored in a special ceremony at our new offices in August 2006. We gave them each a special carved Toanga and their picture sits proudly on our wall – it always will.
To Troy: Some how our destinies were linked, it was a privilege to meet you and your loyal friends. Rest in peace friend.