Big pain for big gain

LAUREN PRIESTLEY
Last updated 05:00 05/02/2014
Stephen Freundlich
BIG HEART: Stephen Freundlich is putting his body on the line to raise money for 7-year-old Josh Timaloa.

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Stephen Freundlich is putting himself through a couple of hours of pain in the hope it will ease a family's suffering.

The 41-year-old Mt Eden man will do 1000 burpees in a row on Saturday to fundraise for the Timaloa family. The challenge will take place at the Aotearoa Martial Arts Academy in Fowlds Park.

Josh Timaloa, 7, of Mt Albert was diagnosed with liver cancer at the end of November. His mother Yvonne says the experience has been harrowing but support from friends, relatives and even complete strangers is getting them through.

"It's just a shock to your system. It was the worst thing I could even think of. We are just having to learn not to look too far ahead with the ‘what ifs' and be thankful for the right now."

Josh was rushed to Starship Children's Health after going to his GP for a check-up.

The scans picked up a tumour taking up almost three-quarters of Josh's liver.

The youngster is now in his 10th week of chemotherapy and is fighting the battle as hard as he can, Mrs Timaloa says.

Mr Freundlich approached Mrs Timaloa with his idea to help immediately after hearing the news.

"He came and offered right after I sent emails to friends to start praying. It was still so raw and I was trying to come to terms with the whole cancer thing.

"He waited and offered again. It was the right timing so we gave him our blessing and our support. The fact that he was so persistent shows the heart of the guy."

The family has been investing in health supplements to try and keep Josh strong and healthy.

Mrs Timaloa had to leave her job when her son was diagnosed.

The support and funds coming in from Mr Freundlich's challenge are "overwhelming", she says.

The family has been leaning heavily on support from Starship staff and the Child Cancer Foundation, she says.

"It's not just my friends it's also Steve's friends, even complete strangers to me, who have got behind us. I don't even know how to say thank you enough for what's been done."

Mr Freundlich says the challenge was a way to do something tangible.

He kicked off the fundraising with a $500 donation and hopes to see more money coming in soon.

"Everyone has been sending their prayers every night but we wanted to find a way to help them financially.

"However long the challenge takes it will feel like far too long. I tried to think of something that nobody in their right mind would want to do."

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Aotearoa Martial Arts Academy owner Charlie Tamati says the burpee challenge fits in with the ethos of the family-orientated club.

He has been running the school for 20 years and has trained Mr Freundlich since 2011.

"Big ups to him, it's a big challenge. We always talk about setting yourself goals and challenging yourself. He already trains hard enough and now he's got this on top of everything else."

Head along to the Aotearoa Martial Arts Academy on February 8 from noon to watch the burpee challenge.

Donations can be made to the Timaloa family bank account 12-3014-0102263-50 or through Stephen Freundlich, phone 021 472 872.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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