Eteuati Ete warming up for his walk with an ocean swim. Photo: MELE WENDT.
By JEREMY DUXBURY
Laughing Samoan Eteuati Ete will return to Fiji next month to take part in the WOWS Kids (Fiji) Walk around Viti Levu – a distance of 462 kilometres – to raise funds and awareness for children with cancer and other life-threatening conditions.
Ete will give up two weeks of his time and a lot of sweat and tears to be here in Fiji to complete this historic walk, which is split into 13 daily sections with an average distance of 35km a day.
WOWS Kids (Fiji) also invites companies and individuals to join Ete and the team for one or more legs in what is essentially a “very long walkathon” from 6th to 18th October.
“I’m both excited and nervous about the walk around Fiji,” Ete said from New Zealand where he and comedy partner Tofiga Fepulea’i are still on their Fresh Off Da Blane tour.
“I’m excited about raising funds for WOWS Kids (Fiji)… but nervous about being able to complete such an epic journey. I’ve been training well though and am confident that I’ll be able to complete the walk.”
“It’s the first time in my life I’ve undertaken such a long walk, but I’ve always maintained a good level of fitness going to the gym regularly. The walk is good in terms of providing me with a challenge to lift my level of fitness to another level,” he said.
“We (the Laughing Samoans) were in Samoa last week and it was a good opportunity to walk out in tropical conditions.”
The Laughing Samoans met Tae Kami in 2008 two weeks before she passed away, and her strength of character and faith made such an impact on them that they have since provided assistance and support whenever possible in raising awareness and funds for the Walk On Walk Strong cause.
WOWS Kids (Fiji) will have sponsorship forms available in the next few days. These work the same way as a Walkathon, with participants finding their own sponsorship.
Registration per person is $25, which includes the WOWS Walk T-shirt. Sponsorship target is set at $100 for individuals and $1,000 per day for companies.
WOWS Kids (Fiji) chairman, Makrava Wilson, noted that interest from companies and individuals had been extremely good.
“Thus far, we have had a very good response from companies lending support and wanting to participate in the WOWS Walk,” Mr Wilson said. “We have companies like BSP and BSP Life treating it like a team-building project for their staff, and we also have valuable commitments from Pacific Energy, Digicel, The Fiji Times and Fiji Television.”
“Now that we have launched the event publicly, we expect a lot more companies to come forth and join the walk.”
The final leg from Nausori to Suva will be a half-day followed by an International SOS Head Shave and a free WOWS Kids concert at Sukuna Park, details of which will be announced shortly.
WOWS Kids (Fiji) recently lodged their registration papers as part of the next step in the process towards realising the dreams of the late Tae Kami to assist other Pacific families suffering from the same heartache.
The walk around Viti Levu will raise awareness for the Walk On Walk Strong campaign and also raise funds for the resource centres in Suva and Lautoka and the WOWS Kids Care Fund.
The 2014 WOWS Kids (Fiji) Walk:
Start: Monday 6 October (Sukuna Park, Suva)
Finish: Saturday 18 October (Sukuna Park, Suva)
Route: Clockwise around Viti Levu
Total distance: 462km
Average daily distance: 35km
Participants and Supporters (as of 09/09/14):
• BSP Life
• Pacific Energy
• Fiji Times
• Fiji TV
In 2005 at age 12, Tae Kami was diagnosed with a rare cancer of the jaw, which meant extensive and costly specialised treatment in New Zealand.
After several very complex operations over a period of three years, Tae passed away in August 2008.
Before she left us, she wrote the song Walk On Walk Strong as an encouragement to other patients and families struggling with cancer.
The Tae Kami Foundation was set up initially in Tonga by Tae’s parents, Taholo and Sina, with the hope of helping other Pacific families dealing with the same heartache.
The same work has been carried out by the WOWS Committee in Fiji.
Related website links:
Tae Kami Foundation
Tribute to Tae (Tagata Pasifika):
Walk On Walk Strong – Tae’s Song