Lake Wanaka, New Zealand

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Lake Wanaka, New Zealand

Race and raise money for Breath4CF

Posted on: Wednesday 19th November 2014

Dion Phair has a very good reason why he chose to run for the cystic fibrosis charity Breath4CF – he lost his little brother to CF.

“I grew up with my brother who had CF and just the sheer fact they can’t do these sorts of things to any great extent gives you more incentive,” Dion says. “I know that I’m perfectly capable and it’s great to be able to give something back to CF.”

Dion’s brother Quinton, known as Quinny, died at the young age of 24 in 2005. A sports fanatic, Quinny lived and breathed soccer, cricket and rugby. And while sports were difficult for him physically, he made up for it by becoming involved at a coaching and managerial role, as well as being a specialist armchair critic.

Growing up Dion and Quinny were both sports mad. Quinny was two years younger and being born with CF meant his health deteriorated as he got older.

“He had an acute case. He was pretty limited physically. He did what he could but I think from the ages of 13, 14 onwards he was pretty much confined to spectating – he couldn’t do much physically at all.

“That was my normal. I just adapted to what he could do and did my best to include him in what we were doing,” Dion explains.

“If it was cricket then he was the one doing all the batting and I was the one doing all the running around,” Dion recalls. “He was not shy on offering his opinion on my technique or performances.”

Currently training five or six days a week between one and three hours a day, it’s the first time Dion (35) has entered Challenge Wanaka. He was lucky to get a bit of a head start with training – his brother-in-law is Tony Dodds, one of New Zealand’s current elite triathletes.

“I’ve basically been handed all the gear I need, so there’re no real excuses. I’m keen to get back into fitness and this is a good reason. We’ve spent a lot of time in Wanaka and I’ve watched quite a few events and supported some friends doing it, so I thought it’s about time that I had a go at it myself.”

And when Dion saw that Breath4CF was the official charity he didn’t hesitate to sign up.

“Every little bit helps and if somebody’s got a chance to challenge themselves physically when they’ve got the ability to do so then they should really make the most of it. It is a good motivator to think of those who can’t and perhaps do something extra to try and make a difference to someone else’s life” he says.

Growing up both Dion and Quinny were aware of their limited time together because people with CF have a significantly shorter life expectancy than the general population.

“Again, that was just our normal, we just carried on as if it wasn’t there. There was no time or date so you just have to live your life,” Dion says.

Quinny had a double lung transplant at the age of 22 which allowed him to enjoy a couple more years of reasonably good health before passing away at the age of 24.

All Breath4CF donations go towards providing financial assisting for people with CF to participate in physical activities. Exercise is the one treatment that CF people can do for themselves to help improve their lung function, which is why Breath4CF is so important for those with the disorder.

To raise money while you race, please contact Cystic Fibrosis or check the CF box during registration.