Kart racing track turns velodrome for family's bowel cancer fundraiser
A Blenheim family will pedal their bikes around a raceway at least 500 times to fundraise in honour of husband and father Grant Crosswell.
The keen kart racer was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2018, aged 54. He passed away just seven weeks later.
His wife Clare and three children, Jess, Jacob and Emma, have come together to form Team Crosswell, one of 100 teams nationwide in the Move Your Butt challenge to help raise $350,000 for Bowel Cancer NZ awareness month in June. Bowel cancer was the second-highest cause of cancer death in New Zealand.
In the family's third crack at the challenge, this year's edition would combine two of Crosswell's greatest passions, karting and biking, on June 17.
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Team Crosswell would be joined by extended family and friends, and hopefully supporters, when they cycled 500km around the almost 1km Kartsport Marlborough circuit, a course Crosswell knew well.
Jacob Crosswell said his dad was a keen kart racer who regularly put his own kart to the test at the Blenheim track, as well as an avid mountain biker.
"We just thought it would be kind of fitting to put those two together and put together a good fundraising effort."
The cyclists would likely be in a "bit of pain" by the end of the day, but Crosswell's wife Clare Brunel reckoned it would be "nothing compared to what people have to go through when they are going through that cancer treatment".
"Lots of young people are being diagnosed now, and there's more awareness of the importance of just getting something checked, even if it's just something little not quite right, and worth following up on," Brunel said.
Team Crosswell entered Move Your Butt two other times since losing Crosswell, and Brunel said coming up with a challenge was a way for the family to "kind of push ourselves a little bit".
"I think for us, it's been really helpful, we’re quite a close-knit family."
One of the team's previous challenges had each family member going for bike, run or walk every day for the month of June, covering a combined distance of 200km.
"So when coming up with the total distance for this year, I kind of thought it’d be good to at least double that, and see how far we could get," Jacob said.
Jess hoped their fundraising effort would "support those that are also going through it, and show them that we care as well", his sister Jess said.
"That's why we did it, even if we don't [raise] the amounts of money, it's just the awareness, sharing it with our friends and family and on social media and stuff to try and get it around the place, talked about."
Jacob said they hoped to get "as many people as we can", biking alongside them when the cycling kicked off at Kartsport Marlborough at 8am on June 17.
"Even if its just one lap, or half a lap, or just standing there and cheering people on," he said.
Or to support the team with a donation, people could search for Team Crosswell at moveyourbutt.org.nz.READ MORE: * The meeting at the museum that 'blindsided' a society * Don't judge a band by its covers: Project propels students towards stardom * Central hold off Waitohi in Marlborough Tasman Trophy club rugby battle