Benji talks and lives inspire

Last updated 05:00 10/12/2013

If, like me, you're sports mad, then tune into Prime tonight and watch 60 Minutes at 7.30pm - my old mate Benji Marshall will be interviewed about his controversial switch from league to rugby.

I've always thought there was more to it than has come out so far so I can't wait to see what the former Tiger and now Auckland Blues player has to say.

And speaking of television, on Sunday mornings I always watch Attitude, a great show about people with disabilities and was delighted to see another great friend, Gary Endacott, son of former Vodafone Warriors and Kiwis coach Frank, featured for winning a people's choice award.

Gary suffers from cerebral palsy but has never let it hold him back - he's climbed Mt Kilimanjaro in Kenya and completed the New York marathon. Not bad for a man who doctors said would never walkwhen he was born.

He has also made his mark as a Ministry of Education disability facilitator and educator, helping young disabled people and their families by teaching them quality of life tools to enhance their opportunities.

While I am no great reader because of my dyslexia, I did get through Carpe Diem, Notes on a Marathon Journey - the story of Josh Harwell, who collapsed six years ago while training for the London Marathon and woke from a coma two months later with a brain injury, not remembering his cardiac arrest.

The poor bloke was taken to a hospice to die but confounded everyone by surviving and was eventually flown back to New Zealand where he spent three years recovering.

It's an incredible story and to get a copy for $25 email garnerpark@xtra.co.nz.

We must never take our health for granted. Only last week I was back in hospital again to have another stent put in and the problem was only picked up because I had a regular check-up. So how important are they?

This week is really full on. Last night I was at the New Zealand Rugby League Awards and today I'm at Vodafone to help introduce new Warrior Sam Tomkins to the staff and at a season ticket holders' fan day with the players at Mt Smart.

I've got several personal things to do, including attend a farewell do for Murray Deaker, who hangs up his radio microphone at the end of the month. That will be an emotional one for me.

But the highlight is going to be the Fight For Life on Saturday night. Of course it features Shane Cameron, a man I have huge respect for. Sure he has had his ups and downs but when he turned pro the Mad Butcher was one of his first sponsors and we are still proud to stand behind him.

It's at The Trusts Arena in west Auckland and Shane faces Brian "The Beast" Minto in a heavyweight contest but not before Aussie hard man Paul Gallen has faced All Black Liam Messam, Broncos nice guy Sam Thaiday has gone toe-to-toe with Ben Tameifuna, cricketers Chris Cairns and Simon Doull have squared off, Sunday Star-Times journalist and league referee Steve Kilgallon has faced Stephen McIvor for Sky TV and Nikolas Charalampous and Scott Taliauli have fought.

A lot of people seem to think it's just a night for the corporates. It isn't. It's open to all at just $29 but you must go online at ticketdirect.co.nz.

I'd better not go too mad though because on Sunday it's the annual Mad Butcher Suburban Newspapers Community Trust Family Fun Day at Ellerslie. See you there.

- Manukau Courier

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