Call us corny, but we still tend to believe that people are genuinely good at their core. That when given the opportunity to rise and meet the needs of others, many will happily step up and bear another’s burdens. Last week, twenty five personal watercraft enthusiasts did exactly that, and raise an impressive $93,000 to aid in the fight melanoma skin cancer.
The two dozen-plus entries of the 2014 Yamaha Melanoma Foundation Ski-NZ challenge embarked on a 6day, 325-nautical mile journey that took them from the top of New Zealand’s South Island, from the Whanganui Inlet (west of Farewell Spit) to Nelson, French Pass, around D’Urville and Stephens Islands to finish at Picton (the final leg bringing them across Cook Strait to Wellington, was called off due to the imminent arrival of Cyclone Lusi).
Organized by Auckland 747 pilot and melanoma survivor Jeremy Burfoot, the Yamaha Melanoma Foundation Ski-NZ challenge carries a very personal message, as the father of three fought the cancer years earlier. He stated, “Last year our journey took us from Tauranga to Russell, spreading our melanoma awareness message in those areas and raising $60,000 for the Foundation. This year, we took it to the South Island and raised an incredible $93,000!
“Just as importantly,” Burfoot continued, “We again clearly demonstrated our continuing commitment to raising awareness of melanoma: a cancer that is killing more than 300 Kiwis a year.”
Hosting the fourth year for the event, Burfoot teamed with Yamaha to raise awareness of the dangers melanoma poses to New Zealanders. In an article published on Yamaha’s official New Zealand page, “[Burfoot] has also set two world records on his Yamaha VXR1800 Wave Runner (for the fastest 1000km on a PWC and for the longest distance traveled on a PWC in six hours).”
After a successful Yamaha Melanoma Foundation Ski-NZ challenge, Burfoot says he is already looking forward to next year’s challenge, saying, “Next year we are hoping to take on the East Coast of the North Island, from Napier to Tauranga. And hopefully we will raise even more money for the Melanoma Foundation so that it can continue leading the fight against melanoma and supporting those affected by it.”