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50K Ski

16th April 2004

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50k SkiA thrilling, 14-hour overnight downhill endurance ski race between 10 top teams from around the world. Sounds tough, but now in its fourth year, the annual 50K Ski held in New Zealand has raised a stunning £300,000 for charity.

This film, originally made by Cameron Bennett for TVNZ's Sunday programme, follows the thrills, spills and bruises of the competitors - all of which are aware of their goal to complete the race, and raise tonnes of cash to help ill kids.

The event is fast developing a name for itself on the ski-circuit - this year, nine out of the ten teams taking part had flown in from other countries especially to take part; from Slovenia, Switzerland, Germany, Norway, the US, Italy and Canada.

The event is held in Queenstown - known in New Zealand for its stunning scenery and being an adventure playground for the affluent. But once a year, Queenstown's well-to-do open their hearts and wallets to give a bit more than they get.

Four of the area's local businessmen organise the event. The concept is fairly simple. Some of the world's best down hill skiers start at 7pm, and race down the mountain at over 130km per hour. When they get to the bottom, they go back up on the chairlift and do it all again. For 14 hours.

They are raising money for Cure Kids, a New Zealand organisation which funds research into cures for long-term, life-threatening illnesses. And the money raised has real, tangible results.

Professor Steven Robertson's post at Otago Medical School is funded by Cure Kids. His work, along with other international scientists has found a gene that plays a key role in birth defects. Prof Robertson says "I wouldn't be here without Cure Kids."

And people who benefit from the money raised are all there at the race as well. Such as Cure Kids ambassador Becky Dixon, who accepted on behalf of Cure Kids the cheque for $265,000. She suffers from the cystic fibrosis, which is an incurable lung disease. She, Professor Robertson and many of the other Cure Kids are up all night, cheering the competitors on.

The race finished after 14 hours, with a couple of teams having had to drop out due to injury. As for who won? Well, it doesn't really matter, as it really wasn't about winning and losing.

Organisations

Cystic Fibrosis Trust
Funds research towards understanding, treating and curing Cystic Fibrosis. It also aims to ensure that people with CF receive the best possible care and support in all aspects of their lives.
Cure Kids
Cure Kids is the face of the Child Health Research Foundation, an organisation established over 30 years ago to address the lack of research into children’s diseases in New Zealand. The Foundation has funded over $NZ10 million into child health research, resulting in significant breakthroughs, including new advances in childhood leukaemia, treatment for hole in the heart blue babies, and internationally successful strategies for cystic fibrosis.

Follow the links to view similar stories:
International, Health and Medical, Sport/Fitness/Lifestyle

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