Rory Gardiner's Webpage

02, Apr, 2011

Saturday 2nd April 2011

I remember the day Rory was diagnosed like it was yesterday.  It has been replayed in my mind many times.  While I remember little of what was said the words of Rory’s Neurosurgeon, Andrew Law, remain in my mind “this will change your lives ... forever”.  Cancer has changed us as individuals, in ways we would never have thought possible.  I know we all have a greater understanding of the world because of what Rory has been through. 

This week Rory and Sam entered the Weetbix Tryathlon in New Plymouth.  As usual Sam took it in his stride.  He is a capable sportsman, and has entered these type of events before.  It was Rory’s first time.  He had to be coaxed into entering and was quite nervous, but got excited when his race pack (tshirt, cap and race number) arrived in the mail.  Sean was to accompany him around the course.  It was a warm sunny morning as we organised their gear in the transition area at Ngamotu beach.  Of the 1300 children waiting to start Rory was the only one without hair.  His recent birthday tipped him into the 9 year old category, and they were the last to go off.  Rory was in the last group, and was the slowest.  He completed all the legs; the 100m swim/wade, the 4km bike, and the 1.5km run (which he ran/walked).  Most people had drifted away from the finish line by the time he crossed, but Sam and I, Uncle Guy, and the Sports Teacher from Inglewood Primary were there to acknowledge and congratulate him on a momentous achievement.  He had done it!  It brought home to me the truth you don’t have to be first to be a winner, you can be last and still be a champion.  Rory’s first words to me after the race, when he was hot and exhausted, were ‘it was evil mum”, but he has barely taken his race t-shirt off, and is already talking about next year’s event.  A big thank you goes to Stephanie at SMC events who helped support Rory on the day. 

Equally moving was our attendance at the Relay for Life in New Plymouth.  My niece Sacha was participating with her Brownie troop and we decided to accompany her.  It was a drizzly Saturday afternoon but the mood was festive.  Many people wore costumes as they walked around, and around, the circuit.  I felt overwhelmed at being surrounded by so many people whose lives had been touched by cancer, and who cared enough to do something to help.  My tears mingled with the rain as I held Rory’s hand and we walked.  The event raised over $187,000 for the Cancer Society in Taranaki.  We are lucky for the support Rory continues to receive from family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers.  Our thanks go to Sandy and Hells Pizza New Plymouth for collecting $270 in donations.  This will be used to pay for swimming lessons next term.  Swimming has made a huge difference to Rory’s physical ability, and we want him to keep swimming during the winter.  To do this he will need to go to New Plymouth. 

It has been a fortnight of family birthdays.  Poppa Honnor was first.  I baked him a cake although I couldn’t fit 73 candles on it!  Rory turned 9.  He was spoilt with special presents from family and friends.  The Millers sang Happy Birthday to him over the phone from Whangarei which had us all in hysterics.  He had a fun day, playing Pokemon on his Nintendo, building lego, swimming at the Aquatic Centre, and relaxing at the end of the day with a DVD.  He spoke to his good friend Ethan on the phone and they wished each other Happy Birthday (it’s the same day!).  Uncle Guy’s birthday is tomorrow.

I have returned to work two days (10 hours) per week with Colt in tow.  Taranaki Regional Council have been very supportive.  I have recently moved office so Colt and I have more space.  Next term I will be working from TRC’s New Plymouth office one day per week so Nana Honnor can care for Colt.  On Tuesday afternoon I went out into the field with the Trustees from the Taranaki Tree Trust to visit a reserve where Trust funding had been used for restoration.  It was a part of Taranaki I had never visited, and the view of the mountain from the Mangamingi Saddle took my breath away.  The boys have been equally as busy.  In addition to school work they are juggling swimming, Clever Kids tuition, kapa haka, guitar lessons, and soccer enrolment is this weekend.  There is never a dull moment.