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$20,000 for MS research

28 June 2011

The Malaghan Institute has, for the second year running, been grateful recipients of the funds raised from The Great New Zealand Trek.  On June 8, trek organiser Steve Old, presented a cheque for $20,000 to Institute Director, Prof Graham Le Gros and MS researcher, Dr Anne La Flamme.

The funds will go directly to Dr La Flamme for her research into finding new therapies for MS and into understanding what immune factors control brain inflammation.  Dr La Flamme was also lucky enough to join this year’s trek in February and met many of the intrepid trekkers who return year after year, donating to MS research in a very unique way.

History of the Trek

It all began in 1995 in Australia when Trek Manager, Steve Old, helped organise a charity horse ride for the Yooralla Society. It was a huge week long challenge involving 350 horse riders and the worst weather in 40 years! However it was a success and gave him the idea to organise a similar event back home in New Zealand.

The first Great New Zealand Trail Ride was held in 1996 on the Coromandel Peninsula with 483 horses and riders instantly becoming the largest ride of its kind in the world with $40,000 raised for Multiple Sclerosis. Steve's mother had passed away with MS in 1993.

Since then, the format has changed and The Great New Zealand Trek started in 2006 from the top of NZ as an annual week-long event to allow, not just horse riders but everyone the opportunity to trek the length of the country or parts of it on horseback, mountain bike or by walking at their own pace with full support.

What has remained the same is the aim is to raise funds to help to find a cure for Multiple Sclerosis.

Kitty Johnson, one of the Trek Organisers and Trustee of The Great New Zealand Trek Charitable Trust is calling this year's trek an "awesome event". It's a special week of camaraderie and an opportunity to meet new people while going to places very much off the beaten track, with a unique support team ensuring everyone gets the most from the experience - and supporting a great cause.

For more information on The Great New Zealand Trek and to find out how you can get involved, please visit their website at www.greatnewzealandtrek.org.nz .