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Brother’s loss inspires cross-country run

Kris McLeish is raising money for the Heart Foundation after losing his much-loved brother to a heart attack early last year.

Kris McLeish says his brother Scott was one of life’s true characters and someone who loved being around people.  

“He had a knack of being able to light up a room with his presence and laughter. Most of all, he was a good brother – I miss him.”

Scott died of a massive heart attack on February 4th last year, at the age of only 38, leaving behind a wife and young twins – a boy and a girl.

The fallout was terrible, says Kris, who is 34 and lives in Christchurch.

“Mum and dad will never be the same, nor will my sister and I. My sister-in-law has it very tough. She lost her soulmate. Now she’s raising two beautiful children on her own,” he says sadly.

Scott’s children were born in August the previous year. His son spent 217 days in the neonatal unit in Christchurch Hospital, and his daughter spent 38 days in Christchurch Women's Hospital.

“Scott spent nearly every night nursing his son in hospital, right up till when he (Scott) passed away. He was able to spend time with his daughter at home but never had that pleasure with his son,” Kris says.

“I’m not looking forward to the day the kids will understand, but I also can’t wait to tell them how awesome their dad was.”

In the several years before his brother’s passing, Kris had taken some big steps to improve his own health, dropping from 115kg down to 82kg. 

After Scott died, he found comfort in putting on his running shoes and hitting the road.

“Running became a great way to feel better. I thought ‘why not have a crack at running from one side of the country to the other to honour my brother and raise some funds?’”

He says choosing the Heart Foundation as his charity was an obvious choice, so he decided to sign up as a Heart Racer. 

“It would bring me a lot of joy to have a crack at helping you so you can help others,” he told us.

Kris has set himself the goal of running 245km over three days, from Kumara, south of Greymouth, to New Brighton Beach in Christchurch, at the start of November.

He’s inviting others to join in, including some of Scott’s mates and anyone else who’s up for the challenge.

A company called Sto, which supplies products for the construction industry, has kindly offered to sponsor Kris on the run.

“They are planning to supply a support vehicle, an army-style truck with a large canopy on it.

“We are hoping to get sponsors to make donations to get their logo or name printed on the canopy. The bigger the donation the bigger the logo or name. The truck will be coming from Wellington and will be driving back so will hopefully get good exposure.”

Kris, from all of us at the Heart Foundation, good luck and thanks for your support!