Hitching for charity

16:00, Jan 08 2014
John Evans
HAILING AWARENESS: John Evans will hitchhike the length of the country to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s Auckland.

When John Evans told his wife Debbie he wanted to hitchhike from Massey to Bluff, she thought he was crazy and offered to take his temperature.

But the idea stuck in his mind.

He tried his luck again - this time deciding to hitch for a good cause.

After getting the go ahead from Mrs Evans and choosing to raise money for Alzheimer's Auckland, Mr Evans, 59, is all set to embark on his adventure.

"It seemed like a novel thing to do.

"A lot of people are asking where I'm going to stay so I better take a tent and a roll- up mattress," he says.


Mr Evans will set off on February 8 and will get a ride with family from his Massey home to Cape Reinga.

He will then leave it in the hands of kind-hearted commuters to help him cover the 2000-odd kilometre trip to Bluff.

"I'm always happy to pick up hitchhikers if they look tidy.

"I'll make sure I look tidy. I'll have to bring my razor," Mr Evans says.

Alzheimer's is an illness close to Mr Evans and he's grateful to be able to spread awareness.

"Everyone fundraises for cancer and Auckland Alzheimer's do a lot but you don't hear about it every day," he says.

"If no-one does anything it doesn't get the attention it needs. Hopefully this can do something."

The father of three has had several family members affected by the disease.

He's set up an online page on Give a Little where people can donate and has so far raised more than $1000 - a small dent in his $20,000 goal.

People can also be in to win a mystery getaway including flights and accommodation by donating more than $20 and guessing how long it will take for Mr Evans to complete the journey.

Alzheimer's Auckland general manager Julie Martin says money raised will go towards walking and fitness groups in Henderson.

"John is mirroring what is good for people with dementia - remaining connected and getting out into the community," she says.

"We're extremely appreciative that someone who has dementia in their wider family is talking about it.

"It helps to normalise it and breaks down stigma," she says.

Visit givealittle.co.nz/cause/JohnsJourney to make a donation or follow his adventure on Facebook by typing John's Journey for Alzheimer's.

Western Leader