Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Handball with heart.

There were tears of joy, there were party horns, there was disbelief. After 24 killer hours of non-stop handball, our exhausted fundraising legends How to DAD aka Jordan Watson and Jono and Ben from The Hits learned they’d well and truly smashed their $350,000 target. KidsCanBall has now raised $474,381. 

It’s incredible. Even in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis, people all around New Zealand – and even around the world – donated what they could to support Kiwi children living in poverty. The funds raised mean that KidsCan can reach children waiting for support much more quickly. 

“It feels insane,” Jordan said through tears at the end. “It all hits home how much people got behind it and how much it’ll all help. You think the change it will make for one child...” 

The fundraiser was the brainchild of Jordan, who picked handball or four square because it's simple, fun and super competitive.  But he knew that for people to donate, he'd need to put himself through some pain. He roped in his mates Jono and Ben, who somehow agreed to stay up all night playing handball with him.   

It was a crazy 24 hours, with school kids playing trick shots, twerking dads, dancing kiwi fruit, and a stack of famous faces – all gathered to support children in need. The balls flew around the court, and donations kept pouring in. The boys did absolutely no training but were superstars of stamina, pushing their dad bods through sore quads and sleep-deprived delirium. They faced their fiercest opponents when kids from our partner schools Waterview Primary and Northcote Intermediate hit the courts, with plenty of smack talk from those on the stands! Celebrities competing included Jazz Thornton, Matty McLean, Monty Betham, Olivia McTaggart, Eliza McCartney, Leigh Hart, Grace Palmer and Jeremy Corbett. 

By the time the final hooter sounded at 8am, our legends shed tears as they were honoured by the incredible students from Manurewa High School’s kapa haka group, who performed a stunning waiata and haka to say ‘thank you’. 

“The need that we're seeing is so huge,” KidsCan CEO Julie Chapman said at the end. “So, I don't think anyone could possibly understand how much of an impact and how much of a difference this is going to make. That's why it's super emotional, because there are so many kids that are waiting for our help. And now we're going to get to them sooner.”  

At KidsCan, we want to say a massive ‘thank you’ to How To DAD, Jono and Ben from The Hits, to the bench of celebrity supporters, as well as to our partners The Hits, ASB, Zespri, Tip Top and to Meridian Energy, for always having our backs.  

And finally, we want to say thank you to everyone who donated. Kids who are warm, well and with full bellies can focus on their education – giving them a pathway out of child poverty. Because of your kindness, we can now reach more children and give them a fair start in life.