All Blacks 7s stars’ bid to help improve youth health in Fiji
28 September, 2018, 6:30 pm
AUCKLAND, 28 SEPTEMBER 2108 (NZ HERALD) – Two All Blacks Sevens players are giving back to playing rival Fiji by raising funds for children’s health.
Former All Blacks Sevens captain DJ Forbes, and teammate Fiji-born Tomasi Cama Junior, are joining forces with charity Cure Kids to address some of the most serious, yet preventable health conditions affecting children in Fiji.
Cure Kids Fiji works in partnership with child health experts in New Zealand and Fiji, and with the Fiji Ministry of Health and Medical Services, on two national child health projects: preventing rheumatic heart disease, a life-threatening illness that affects one in 50 Fijian children; and ensuring health facilities have access to oxygen.
The Sevens stars will be completing the 2018 AccorHotels Race to Survive with 84 other competitors from New Zealand, Fiji and Australia, that aims to raise FJD$1 million ($706,470) to extend these child health programmes across Fiji.
The “Amazing Race” style event will involve a range of activities, including spending time with children living with rheumatic heart disease, renovating a remote health centre, and visiting a primary and secondary school badly damaged in Cyclone Winston in 2016.
Over the many years playing sevens around the globe Forbes developed a strong connection with Fiji; playing in and against Fiji, New Zealand’s greatest Sevens foe, while also creating many personal memories spending time visiting Fiji with his family.
Forbes was well known and much loved by the “sevens crazed” nation.
“In sport, no matter how hard you try, things don’t always go to plan and you may not get the result you were hoping for but with this race, the kids will benefit regardless so running for a cause like this is exciting,” Forbes said.
Adding to Forbes’ connection to Fiji was his friendship with former teammate, and former World Rugby Sevens player of the year, Cama Junior.
Cama Junior was born and raised in Fiji before moving to New Zealand in 2000 and going on to play more than 60 matches for the All Black Sevens alongside his captain and good friend, Forbes.
With Forbes being part Samoan, both he and Cama Junior said they felt very fortunate their children have had healthy upbringings, a luxury many children in Pacific Island countries didn’t enjoy.
“I’ve seen first-hand that kids in Fiji don’t have access to the resources and health facilities we may take for granted in certain parts of the world,” Cama Junior said.
The 2018 AccorHotels Race to Survive takes place from October 30 to November 2.
Teams of two raise a minimum of $10,000 to participate in the event.