Queenstown-based guiding company Ultimate Hikes this week hands over a cheque for $120,000 to the Bone Marrow Cancer Trust, raised from a dedicated charity walk in April this year.
The five-day, 54km-long hike saw 48 walkers taking to the trail to support the Trust, raising funds to build a new accommodation facility located five minutes’ walk from Christchurch Hospital. Ultimate Hikes – the only company in New Zealand to offer guided hiking and private lodging along the Milford and Routeburn tracks – donated all proceeds of the all-inclusive guided walk to the cause.
Bone Marrow Cancer Trust CEO Allison Nichol is thrilled with the outcome of the inaugural event, and says the fundraising was made possible thanks to the generosity of Ultimate Hikes and company owner Sir John Davies.
“We are blown away by the amount of money raised from this event and can’t thank Sir John Davies and Ultimate Hikes enough. Every cent raised will go towards helping those who require a home away from home when they need it most, while receiving medical treatment in Christchurch,” she says.
“This is the third Ranui patient accommodation project for the Bone Marrow Cancer Trust. Ranui House opens its doors to patients from around the South Island and the rest of New Zealand who are receiving medical treatment from all departments of Christchurch Hospital and the Christchurch Women’s Hospital. Ranui House guests stay anywhere from two nights to two years, and the free accommodation helps to mitigate their financial and emotional costs. We have been turning families away for some time now, so building more apartments will mean we can offer rooms to many more people.”
Ranui House, which means ‘big warm place’ in Māori, comprises 26 apartments next to Christchurch Hospital and accommodated more than 1400 patients and extended families in 2018. The Trust hopes to turn the first sod for a further 46 self-contained apartments in October, subject to funding. The $12 million project receives no Government support and is entirely community-funded, with the Trust raising almost $6 million so far.
“We were delighted to be able to help the Bone Marrow Cancer Trust edge towards its funding goal,” says Ultimate Hikes owner Sir John Davies. “The Milford Track is one of the most beautiful walks in the world, hiking through the heart of Fiordland National Park to Milford Sound. It seems really fitting to help others get back on their feet by lacing up some hiking boots and hitting the ground walking. You never know when you might need to call on the services of Ranui House, and it was a project we really wanted to support.”
Real Journeys also waived their costs for the boats at each end of the walk.
Ultimate Hikes general manager Noel Saxon says bookings for the Milford and Routeburn Tracks are now open for the 2019-2020 season.
“We’re already planning and working towards the next hiking season and while we still have space available, it’s a good idea to book in advance,” Saxon says.