Charity helps those on bad path

24-year-old's charity born from friend's cancer

HANNAH MCKEE
Last updated 19:11 26/05/2014
charity
CAMERON BURNELL/Fairfax NZ

THINK BIG: Practising what his T-shirt preaches, Brooke "Alfie" Butler hopes his charity Journey of Hope gets off the ground soon so that more people with big medical bills for rare illnesses can be helped.

Relevant offers

Capital Life

Work has begun dismantling a controversial view-blocking fence in Wellington suburb of Roseneath American woman finds long-lost friend Joe in Wellington after 18 years Auditor-General Lyn Provost on cop culture, rough mornings and policing power Picnic, pipers and parading to Parliament for Scots College’s centenary Review: A taste of... Cuckoo Cafe & Cocktail Emporium National portrait: Taxpayers' Union founder Jordan Williams My Secret Wellington: Shane Bartle Performance piece lets pigeons spread their wings and fly home to Paraparaumu Cafe Chat: Hive is alive in Eastbourne, Mojo opens in Market Lane, Matterhorn brings back brunch Restaurant review: Muse on Allen offers five star experience

When Brooke "Alfie" Butler's friend Caitlin Hawthorn was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, he wanted to do something more than send his best wishes.

So Butler, aged 24, set up a fundraising evening that raised $4500 to go towards her expensive medication and other expenses which, because of the rarity of her condition, were not eligible for funding.

"Everyone was congratulating me on raising the money but for me it wasn't enough because her costs were about $9000-$10,000 a month. So I just went for it and decided to set up the charity Journey of Hope and began the paperwork."

Hawthorn died, aged 21, in February, shortly before Butler's charity was registered. Her legacy has inspired him to continue with it, to help others in similar situations as Hawthorn.

Butler, a third-year history and religious studies student, met Hawthorn three years ago while studying in Palmerston North.

"We weren't really close but it brought us a bit closer when I said I wanted to help her out. She never asked for it, she was so courageous and strong and always put others' needs before her own. As a friend I just wanted to jump in and help out."

Journey of Hope is selling merchandise and running a Give a Little account, but Butler hopes sponsorship will help to organise annual events such as triathlons.

"The money will go towards people who don't fit into a certain bracket for funding, and people with rare diseases or funding issues. I've always been involved in charities one way or another, but it was Caitlin's journey that really inspired me and made me want to see change and to be there for her and anyone else that needed that help."

He has found it challenging to identify people who need help from Journey of Hope.

"At the beginning I, quite naively, emailed Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland hospitals and offered to help but they of course can't do anything because of privacy issues. It's a bit of a pain feeling helpless really."

There were 600 to 700 people at Hawthorn's funeral, and they all hated to see her suffering, he said. "I thought, the sooner [we could] help the better, because illness doesn't wait."

Ad Feedback

- The Dominion Post

Comments

Special offers
Opinion poll

Will you go to CubaDupa, the Cuba St carnival?

Yes, it looks like it'll be amazing!

I'll see what the weather does

No, it's basically just another community fair

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content