On long march for a cause

Emma Daken (second from right), who is walking the length of New Zealand, and supporters (from...
Emma Daken (second from right), who is walking the length of New Zealand, and supporters (from left) grandmother Ethne Watt, mother Sue Daken, and Paul Fowler, passed through Oamaru yesterday. Photo by Sally Rae.
When university student Emma Daken decided to walk the length of New Zealand raising money and awareness for cystic fibrosis, she did not tell her mother until after she had planned the trip.

And when she did decide to tell her now-proud mother, Sue, she waited until they were catching up over a coffee in a cafe so her mother could not scream.

The inspiration for Miss Daken (20) to do the walk was her best friend, who has cystic fibrosis.

"I've known her nine years.

"She almost lost her life last year.

"It was a good time to do it [the walk]," she said.

Cystic fibrosis is New Zealand's most common life-threatening inherited condition.

It affects mucus, which becomes very thick and sticky, blocking the tiny tubes and ducts of various organs.

Miss Daken, a student at Victoria University, left from Cape Reinga on November 1.

She has raised almost $24,000 so far.

Becoming the youngest New Zealander to walk the length of the country was also "cool motivation" to finish in Bluff on January 9, she said.

For day 58 through Oamaru yesterday, the weather was hot and breezy.

Miss Daken has been walking between 45km and 55km a day and is on her fourth pair of shoes.

Overall, she said, the trip had been very enjoyable and she had met some "amazing" people while raising awareness of cystic fibrosis.

A fit and active person, she did not have time to train because planning the trip had been so time-consuming.

Now it was nearly over, she was contemplating future challenges; possibly a Coast to Coast or an Ironman event.

After spending her summer holiday outside, Miss Daken was not sure how she would go back in the university lecture theatre next year.

She will spend tonight in Palmerston, before walking to Dunedin where she will stay four nights.




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