For years Diane Wong dreamed of travelling the South Island.
With her husband Phillip and their four best friends, the plan was to tour the south as a group when they made it to retirement.
A terminal breast cancer diagnosis for Diane changed everything.
The 64-year-old Gulf Harbour woman was forced to retire early, and her South Island plans were suddenly out of reach.
After reaching out to palliative care charity Race 4 Life, last week Diane got to realise her wish.
The group of friends returned from a week-long adventure on Anzac Day, and Diane is still buzzing.
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“They let six geriatrics loose, and we had a ball, an absolute ball,” Diane said.
Visiting Wellington, Christchurch, Greymouth, Hokitika “and all the wonderful stops in between”, the group travelled by train, plane and automobile, and were looked after at every step of the journey.
All transport, accommodation, and dining experiences were organised by Race 4 Life, with much provided for free by the businesses involved.
The trip ran “like clockwork” and the southern hospitality was amazing, Diane said.
“I don’t think there was a down moment.”
The weather was so good, it took Diane – who packed mostly winter clothes – by surprise.
“The sun shined on us from the time we got on the train to the time we got off the plane back in Auckland,” she said.
Diane calls the Race 4 Life team a “group of angels”.
“They are an amazing society, quietly going along doing these amazing things,” she said.
“I’m grateful my health is as good as it is. There are lots of people further down the track than I am, but they’re so caring and so good to everybody.”
Registered as a not for profit charity in May 2015, the Race 4 Life Trust is the only trust in New Zealand formed to fulfil the wishes of adults in palliative care.
Visit race4life.co.nz for more information.