Leamington teachers step it up

Leamington School teacher Louise Ballard (centre in sunglasses) and her son Spencer on PJ and Pizza day with students and some of the teachers taking part.

A three-year-old boy has inspired dozens of Leamington School teachers to go the distance for the Cerebral Palsy Society this month.  Cambridge News visited the school during a special fundraising day to find out more.

If you’ve walked a long way today and are looking for someone to boast to, the Leamington School staffroom is the last place in Cambridge you should visit.

Anyone who makes that mistake is likely to be shot down in flames by a horde of exercise-crazy teachers, who have spent the month obsessively counting their steps on pedometers to raise money for cerebral palsy sufferers as part of Steptember.

Each participant commits to reach 10,000 steps a day during September to raise awareness and money for cerebal palsy, a physical disability that affects movement and posture.

As some of those involved meet around the Leamington staffroom table to eat lunch, bravado is rife.

“Call it friendly rivalry,” says Arie Paton, who has been working her daily totals into her students’ maths lessons and admits she gets “pretty dark” with teammates who don’t perform to expectations.

The inspiration behind the mammoth collective effort is three-year-old Spencer Ballard, whose mother Louise teaches at Leamington School.

Spencer was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 18 months when his parents went to the doctor regarding his “distinctive swagger”.  The condition causes tightness on the left side of Spencer’s body and he regularly attends the Mackenzie Centre for therapy.

Louise said she was “blown away” by support from colleagues at Leamington School who were keen to support the cause.  “We have 12 teams of four, and roughly 36 of those people are Leamington school staff.  It makes me feel quite proud, because this money really does make a difference.”

“Thanks to the sponsorship of friends, family and colleagues, you’ll raise vital funds to help pay for services, programmes, and research into ground-breaking treatments for cerebral palsy,” she said.

Leamington School organised a PJ and Pizza day recently, inviting students to come dressed in their pyjamas and make a gold coin donation.  Students are getting right behind the teachers, following their daily progress with interest and learning about cerebral palsy.

Louise is urging people to “get out there and donate”.

“Even if it’s only a couple of dollars, every bit helps,” she said.

If you would like to make a donation to Spencer’s Angels, please visit www.steptember.org.nz.

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