Auckland PE teacher gets students to fundraise $15k for sick kids

An Auckland PE teacher who helps out sick children in his spare time is now getting his pupils at Dilworth College to do their bit.

Ally Patterson asked the boys and their families to take part in the Ronald McDonald House to House running fundraiser challenge, and they've since raised more than $15,000.

The money will help pay for accommodation, meals, and support for families traveling to hospital with their children.

Four-year-old Jonty loves Ronald McDonald House. It's been a home away from home for him, and his family since he was diagnosed with cancer at 10-weeks-old.

They are an active family. Gymnastics is Jonty's favourite activity, but when he's in hospital, PE teacher Ally Patterson provides the action.

The kids play basketball and other fun games which are not only good for physical health, it's also distraction therapy. 

"Jonty has had a lot of neurosurgery," his mum Kerri Clare says. "There's a point where you have to relax a little bit and let him be a kid."

But the facility relies heavily on support from the public.

Patterson has been volunteering his time and expertise playing with the kids.

"It's organised chaos. I come away with absolute sweat pouring off me every week."

But these aren't your everyday PE classes - they're precious. Some of the kids have life-threatening conditions.

"When kids that you saw last week and the week before are not here, and you know the reasons why there're not here anymore, that's tough," Patterson says.

Now he's challenging the boys he teaches at Dilworth to get involved in the House to House fundraising challenge.

The aim is to run or walk a combined total of over 100,000 km. That's how far families like Jonty's travel each month while their child's in hospital.

Dilworth School has a history of helping boys who have suffered family misfortune, and the kids know how crucial timely support can be.

Tamale Taufa says Dilworth helped him out during his own time of need.

"This school has given me so much in terms of support with my family and losing my mum and everyone at their lowest point, so I think it's only appropriate for us and as a school to pay that favour forward again."

The stories don't always have a happy ending, but every now and then there's some good news - Jonty's cancer is now in remission.


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