"Just Breathe", were the words that my mate Jake Apps lived by. He had them tattoed on his arm. This was beacause he stuggled everyday to breathe due to Cystic Fibrosis.
My name is Montana O'Neill, Jake was my long time friend. We went to school together and played Rugby in the country.
While on a 7 month trek through the alps and wilderness of Europe, I received the sad news that Jake had passed away. He was following my progress and supporting my journey on social media. I always wanted him to join me, but because of his illness, this was never to be.
I could not attend his funeral, but while waking through the forests in Germany, the thought came to me to do something in honour of his life and struggle. How could I raise awareness of Cystic Fibrosis? How could I keep Jake's story alive? How could I raise funds for Research?
On January 12, 2020, I will begin one of the worlds most challenging long distance treks.
The Te Araroa, (in Maori, "the long pathway").
A 3000km trail that stretches from the tip of the North Island to the very bottom of the South Island.
I will begin my journey at Bluff in the south and head north to Cape Reinga. I plan to arrive some time in May. Although this is a solo journey, family and friends are welcome to join me on my trek for Jake.
Cure4 Cystic Fibrosis is the foundation I chose to raise money for. They appealed to me because their image demonstrated that they are passionate and are committed to the battle of defeating Cystic Fibrosis.
Furthermore, they had a high rating when it came to honesty and transparency.
I want to thank my sponors ETM Perspectives and Rubik3 for their support and generosity.
My family is right behind me on this. My friends and Jakes mates, I know, will support this.
Lastly, to Jakes Mum and Sister, Megan and Ashlee ; the Apps and Catchpole family, this is for you.
Jake was a smiling, positive and courageous warrior. His spirit will be beside me when I'm hiking through New Zealand.
I'll hear his words of encouragement "C'mon Monty, don't be soft you slacker, lets get going".