Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Damion Ranginui – 22 half marathons in 22 days.

This month, 28-year-old Damion Ranginui is running 22 half marathons in 22 days to raise awareness and funds for KidsCan. It’s a cause that’s close to home. He’s now a manager at accounting firm KPMG, but he has never forgotten the feelings of hunger - and shame - he felt as a child living in poverty.

“There is a lot of shame that goes with having less than other kids. My nickname throughout school was ‘Hori’, a name I disliked with a passion, so I did everything I could to act like I had enough. I learned to avoid asking for or accepting food (even if it was being offered), because this provided others the opportunity to bully – lines like, ‘Of course you want the sandwich Hori.’ It was simpler to go without rather than be hurt by such statements.

I recall being hungry, wanting food, and it being extremely hard to focus, but I learned to cope without. There was no choice. I knew I could handle it, but for my sister who is eight years younger than me, it was tough knowing a little kid had to go through those experiences. A friend once called my little sister ‘Hori Junior’, which devastated me, because I had so much trauma attached to this name.

Occasionally, there would be just Weetbix for dinner. A tough moment I remember was one Saturday when I had rugby, and we had run out of all food and money. I remember looking through the cupboards, moving things around to see if there was anything there - but there was nothing. I headed to rugby on an empty stomach, and a friend just casually offered, “I'm gonna grab a sausage sizzle. Would you like one?” He would never have known how much that meant to me.

So that’s my motivation to run for KidsCan. I know how hard it is for a lot of kids who are struggling, and who don't have control over that, because they’re kids. I figured I should take on a decent challenge if I’m asking family, friends, and networks to donate. I am not a natural runner, but I’ve built up my fitness through discipline and consistency. The purpose behind the running has also been a great energiser.

I believe education is key to breaking the cycle of poverty, hence why kids need the essentials so they can focus throughout the day. Kids who can't afford the appropriate school uniform or shoes should be supported, so they can focus on learning rather than trying to avoid being bullied. Investing in kids, like KidsCan does, helps to ensure their well-being and learning opportunities are being tended to. By investing in our kids, we’re investing in the future of our country.

For me, it was the community that enabled my change in circumstance. I had teachers, friends, mentors, and family who saw potential in me. They encouraged me to dream big and showed me how to achieve my dreams. Now, with their help, I have a positive future ahead of me and have created generational change for me and my future whānau.

Next time you see a family or a kid doing it tough, I encourage you to think of how you can help. By supporting KidsCan, you’re helping a kid going through what I did. You will be building a brighter future for our beautiful country – Aotearoa.”

You can support Damion’s epic effort for KidsCan by donating at:



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