Kahutara School’s Cohen Walford, right, 11, riding with his best mate, Devyn Urlich. PHOTOS/HAYLEY GASTMEIER

HAYLEY GASTMEIER
hayley.gastmeier@age.co.nz

The sun dried out Kahutara School’s soggy ground just in time on Wednesday, as pupils hit the BMX track for a good cause.

Eleven-year-old Cohen Walford organised the bikeathon to raise money for people battling cancer, like his mum Rachel, who has a rare form of terminal lung cancer.

Cohen’s bikeathon was enjoyed by dozens of boys and just one girl, Maya Handyside, who raised $70.

After setting an initial target of raising $500, Cohen has in one month raised more than $5300, which he will give to Wairarapa Cancer Society.

His fundraising effort began as a school project, in which his class considered the power of individuals and how big, positive differences could collectively be made within a community.

Cohen said he had been “a bit” nervous that the bikeathon would be dampened by the weather, but the sun arrived in time.

The aim was to get around the school’s BMX track as many times as possible in one hour.

Cohen’s 12-year-old sister Eden and her friend Josie Madox, 11, who raised money for cancer battlers by selling homemade crafts.

Cohen took a brief break at halftime to explain what he had discovered through the school project.

“I have learned how you can use social media in a good way and how effective it can be.

“And I’ve learnt how supportive the community is.”

Cohen’s dad, Darren said his son had “really embraced” the idea behind the fundraising, which meant a lot to the family.

Deputy principal and teacher Hamish McRae said the project had been based around helping pupils realise their potential and how a single person could have a huge impact on the world.

“It’s about getting them to be flexible, creative, and resilient.”

Maya’s proud grandmother, Andree de Latour, said she was a “determined soul” and it was great to see the school encouraging the giving spirit.

Other Kahutara School pupils raised money for the charity through other events, with Cohen’s 12-year-old sister, Eden, and her friend, Josie Madox, making jewellery and cards to sell.

Josie said it was about “paying it forward”.

Josie’s mum, Sandy Madox, said it was nice to see the children hone their strengths and use them for the greater good.