Fun Run fundraiser in memory of a great mate
IF you were lucky enough to get the chance to meet Kyzaiah Atkinson, his amazing personality would have left a lasting impact. The eleven-year-old Verney Road Primary School student was a much-loved character, completely obsessed with superheroes and horror movies. According to those closest to the young man, his charm was completely infectious.
Sadly, Kyzaiah passed away in his home on Friday, August 16, after a long battle with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a severe muscle-wasting condition that affects 1 in 3,500 boys, and in some rare cases, girls too. He was eleven years old.
Kyzaiah touched the hearts of students and teachers at Verney Road during his short journey and six years at the school. Last week, in memory of their classmate, the school dedicated the 2019 Fun Run to Kyzaiah, who absolutely adored the annual event.
The fundraiser, which took place on Wednesday last week, saw students and teachers dressing up as their favourite characters and superheroes to take part in the Fun Run. Teachers, carers, parents and students ran, walked, rolled or sprinted laps around the school to raise awareness and funds for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) and, most importantly, to honour the memory of their own little superhero, Kyzaiah.
Funds raised from the special run for Kyzaiah will be split evenly across two important charities. 50 percent of the funds will go towards the Save Our Sons Duchenne Foundation, an organisation specifically devoted toward raising funds and awareness for DMD. The other 50 percent will go towards Muscular Dystrophy Australia, the peak national organisation for all muscular dystrophies and neuromuscular disorders.
Kyzaiah’s grandparent and carer, Kaye Goggin said, “The main aim of the event today was to raise awareness for muscular dystrophy.
“When he was first diagnosed at 18 months old, I had never even heard of it.”
Following Kyzaiah’s diagnosis, his family watched on with sadness as his muscle function deteriorated rapidly, leaving him wheelchair-dependent and requiring daily medication and physiotherapy since eight years of age.
Yet despite these hurdles, Kyzaiah maintained a fearless spirit and was loved by everybody he came in contact with. His cheeky personality touched the hearts of many, like his mates at Rumbalara Football Club and the students and teachers at Verney Road School.
“He was such a character; he had everybody wrapped around his finger,” Ms Goggin said. “Kyzaiah loved superheroes; it was all he would talk about. Well, besides horror movies. He loved horror and was really looking forward to the new Chucky film.”
Throughout the fundraising event, students at Verney Road had an absolute blast, each attempting to complete as many laps as possible in less than 25 minutes. As the enthusiastic students circled past each time, proud onlookers offered high fives and encouraging words of support, with each student receiving a special stamp for every time they’d complete a lap.
Reflecting on this special event, Verney Road assistant principal, Carolyn West said, “It’s important that the students have a day like today to recognise that, even though Kyzaiah is no longer with us, we can still have lots of fun in his memory.”
And there’s no doubt Kyzaiah would have adored all the superhero fun, laughing with his buddies at Verney Road, everyone all dressed up.
Coincidentally, National Superhero Week for Muscular Dystrophy is occurring this week, from September 2 until September 9. During this time, heroes of all ages are encouraged to host an event to raise awareness or donate funds to this cause.
To offer your support and donate to Muscular Dystrophy Australia, visit www.mda-online.org/forms/MDA_Donation/donate.html. To contribute to Save Our Sons, go to www.saveoursons.giveeasy.org
The Adviser offers condolences to all the families, carers, teachers and students who knew this young superhero; may Kyzaiah stand tall in the Dreamtime now.