Christine's river trip to honour dad

ESTHER LAUAKI
Last updated 05:00 04/05/2012
Rowing EBC
ESTHER LAUAKI
FOR DAD: St George's Rowing Club captain Christine Hobbs is rowing down the Waikato to raise funds for Alzheimer's research.

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Christine Hobbs is rowing down the Waikato River for her hero.

The St George's Rowing Club captain is undertaking a 141 kilometre-row over three days to raise money for Alzheimer's research in honour of her father Ray Wooliams who lives with the disease.

Alzheimer's disease is one form of dementia that gradually gets worse over time and affects memory, thinking, and behaviour.

Ms Hobbs will launch at Cambridge on May 25 and travel to Port Waikato.

"My Dad is in a secure unit in Rotorua. The more I talk to people the more I find that everyone knows someone who knows someone with Alzheimer's or dementia.

"I started planning the event because I'd been to visit my Dad. This unit is where patients with Alzheimer's go if they can't be contained. They're cared for wonderfully but it's quite a challenging place to go and visit.

" I came back here feeling quite upset so I got in my boat and I went out for a row.

"While I was out there I was thinking that I really wanted to honour him in some way because of all the years he's given to me. I wanted to show my mother and all the extended family that my father is not without his dignity."

Her father's love for nature and the outdoors inspired her to plan the event, she says.

Ms Hobbs started rowing for the Panmure club late in life and is in her sixth season.

"I've always been interested in rowing the length of the Waikato and so I thought this would be a great opportunity to do it. I'm the type of person that jumps first and thinks about it later."

She's received plenty of support.

Eight clubs from Auckland and Hamilton have joined the event and she hopes more people will join along the way.

Rowers keen to join should email Ms Hobbs on cj@industria.co.nz or visit alzheimers.org.nz/row-for-ray to make a donation.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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