Running for Tiago

The PinheirosNumber8Network co-founder and Taupo Times reporter Iris Riddell is no runner. That’s not going to stop her taking on three (3) half-marathons and raising money for local boy with cancer, Tiago Pinheiro.

“I have a mere three weeks to transform myself from a duvet hogging, ice cream scoffing comfort fiend into a duvet hogging, ice cream scoffing comfort fiend who runs half-marathons,” Iris says in the Taupo Times.

Iris, born and reared in Gordonton, signed up for Taupo’s 63.3 Challenge, running three half marathons in three months. The first is the Tauhara Trail, on July 7.  As part of her training she ran up Pukemokemoke last weekend but has been running around Taupo every (other) night for the last two months.

She first heard about two-year-old Tiago at the Gordonton Country Market, where stall-holder Stella Sim was fund-raising for the family. Tiago’s father Andre is from Brazil and moved to New Zealand with Jo, his Kiwi wife, a few years ago. They recently bought a house in Pukete and Jo recently gave up her work to care full-time for Tiago and his sister Ruby.

At Christmas Tiago was running about, swimming, and catching crabs at the beach. But in early January he started getting temperatures and within weeks, was unable to walk. He was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma, and has since undergone many surgical procedures, including bone marrow punctures.

Iris met the family a few weeks ago. “He is a talkative, cheeky little man who loves riding his scooter, and is thrilled to be able to run again after undergoing five rounds of chemo,” she says. During her visit he put on his Batman outfit and showed her his bead collection – black is for jabs, yellow for a night in hospital, white for chemo – all in order, so you can see the changes in his therapy.


His mother Jo says his latest MRI showed a significant reduction in size of the main tumour but he still has a way to go, with stem cell transplants and more visits to Starship Hospital on the horizon.

Tiago, she says, has started a road to recovery.

“I know we will be picked up and carried for some of this path, and other parts we will walk on our own.  I have always believed that it takes a community to raise a child.  I have discovered that it also takes a community to help a family in crisis.”

The local support for the family has been fantastic, says Iris. “I want to help, even if I am in Taupo. Taking part in the three half-marathons was a way for me to do something.”

But right now – it’s time to get the shoes on and pound the streets.

All money raised will go to supporting Tiago’s family.

  • Please support Iris in supporting this little boy and his family.  It’s easy to do and every little bit is appreciated.  Iris’s fundraising page can be found by clicking this link
  • or ring Annette Taylor on 824 3043 for more information.
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8 thoughts on “Running for Tiago

  • June 18, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    All the very best Iris and of course even more so, all the very best to Tiago. xxxx

  • June 19, 2013 at 5:35 am

    Hi Iris, what a story!!!!! You are good and we´ll think of you training so hard! We wish you good luck with the half marathons and the money rising!!!!
    Keep it up and all the best for Tiago Mecki and Uli

  • June 26, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    Hi Iris,
    I am from Brazil, live in Hamilton for almost 4 years and like some of the other brazilians in Hamilton have been volunteering to help Tiago. I am a sport scientist and I am happy to help you to prepare for your running if you like and if that will help! Kind regards Camila

    • June 27, 2013 at 9:54 am

      Thanks for the great offer, Camila. Will pass this on to Iris!

      • July 11, 2013 at 6:31 pm

        Go Iris and good luck! 🙂

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