Mereana Wiki-Stairmand knows what it’s like to lose someone close. Her decision to walk 5km in this year’s Auckland Marathon to raise money for mental health is acutely personal.

“I lost my husband, my other half, soul mate and best friend not long ago to mental health. I feel it’s my duty to do whatever I can to help and support this foundation, so hopefully no one has to experience what I have had to.”

This is the first big event that Mereana has attempted, and she’s throwing herself into training, bootcamps, boxing and personal training. Her twin boys will join her on the day and they will be walking to honour her husband and their daddy.

“My first donation was actually one I put down from our boys and my stepsons. I did this because I know if they had all the money in the world, they would donate it all to support me to raise funds for something that their daddy suffered from, and to help others.” 

She has set herself a goal of raising $1000 and has put a link on her Facebook page to share with friends and family - but she hasn’t stopped there!

“I have organised a few fundraisers, designed some mental health awareness jumpers (that I wear with pride), have the mental health symbol tattooed on my wrist, joined the Auckland Marathon and have completed the mental health first aid course, but I will always strive to do more because this is such an important cause.”

Mereana feels that if you have a reason that is dear to your heart, then doing something like this will inspire others too.

“Even if you don't know anyone who suffers from it but you feel it is such an important foundation then go for it, because you will feel so good about yourself. I know I do, although I know I haven't made millions, I know every little bit counts and I get to contribute to something so special and most of all, I know my husband would be proud of me.”