Methven Care Trust - News

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Giving back to remember Dad

Sue van den Heuvel - Friday, February 03, 2017

Release date:  27 October 2016

Losing her dad has inspired Hilary Totty to give something back to the community that supported her family when Ian Totty died a year ago in a tragic accident.

The 31 year old Christchurch multi-sporter is raising funds for registered charity Methven Care Trust when she runs 27km of the Kepler trail in Te Anau in December 2016.

Hilary is asking for donations via a Facebook page Rebuild Methven House.  The aim is to support the goal to raise $5.5million and build a new, aged-care facility for the Methven community.  Community stalwart Ian Totty was chairman of Methven Care Trusts's fundraising committee, as well as a staunch supporter of many community projects in the Methven and Ashburton foothills areas.

Going public about her family's loss isn't easy, but people's support of the cause helps her focus on something positive.

"As soon as it happened I felt a strong urge to do something to give back.  We were incredibly humbled with the support the Staveley and Methven community gave our whole family when dad died.  Doing something positive out of this thing that was so very hard for us was important to me, and Methven Care Trust was a cause that meant a lot to him."

Making sport part of the fundraising equation makes sense, says Hilary, as it connects her to Ian.

"A massive part of dad's and my relationship was about sport.  Since I was 10, dad travelled around New Zealand taking me to events and had always been incredibly supportive.  He loved sport himself and would do anything and everything he could to help me."

Returning to trail running and other sporting events has been strange without dad at her side.

"I feel his absence at my races.  It's weird because dad's not there."  Over the last decade, Ian joined Hilary at Spring Challenge events around the South Island and supported her in two Coast to Coast events.  When Ian died, Hilary was training for the full 66km Kepler race, but shortly afterwards hurt her back and ended up pulling out.

"I prolapsed a disk and couldn't run."  Surgery in March fixed the nerve that was damaged and affecting the function of her foot.

"I couldn't even lift my heal one millimetre off the ground and basically had to learn to run from scrath.  I started by running 20 metres.  It's been a long way back to running 27Km."

Her first race back saw her roped into a three person team competing in the women's Spring Challenge event in September.  After joing two days out from the race, Hilary's team cam second out of 190 entries in the six hour open category.  Recently she competed in Methven's Peak to Pub event coming eighth, a credible result given three months ago she couldn't run at all.

While the last year has been difficult recovering from a back injury and processing her grief, focusing on the Rebuild Methven House fundraising project helps her move forward.

"I have always posted a lot of stuff on Facebook about my sport and sponsors, but as far as advertising what happened with dad I didn't want people to feel sorry for me.  It took a long time to write the Rebuild Methven House page to make sure it came across right.  I think it's important people know the motivation.  I really just want to take a positive outlook and do something that's outside me.  I'm just trying to give something back."

"It's got people thinking about it and I've also had good feedback from people in Methven saying they think it's nice that someone young is getting involved."

Hilary has had exposure to aged care through her work as a dietitian, previously being responsible for nutrition plans for rest homes residents in the United Kingdom.  Currently she is involved in  menu planning for hospital foodservices in Canterbury, but has always had a soft spot for the elderly.

In many ways, Hilary feels she's benefited by the positive reactions to her fundraising.

"People have been absolutely incredible and this experience has brough me a lot closer to many people.  Methven is a place that bands together when needed.  I feel like this is such a little thing I am doing, but hopefully it's raising awareness amongst people who may not otherwise know about the cause.

"I know that dad would be so proud of this and it's what he would want.  I always knew how much he had done for our community, but when you see it all out there it's pretty humbling.  You can always do more.  I'd like to help until Methven Care Trust gets to their target.  I's not going to stop in December."

 Hilary training on Mt Hutt.  (Photo credit; Bill Irwin)

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