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Celebrity News

Dai Henwood teams up with Cure Kids

The 7 Days comedian is shooting for a cure.

By Linda Shackelford
Dai Henwood always plays ball – especially when it comes to helping children with life-threatening conditions.
The host of the upcoming Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards, 7 Days comedian and dad-of-one pulled up his socks recently for a serious game of Turbo Touch for Cure Kids.
“Exercising makes me realise how blessed I am,” says Dai. “After training I’m so stiff and can’t do much, but I just think how lucky I am. Disability is something you can’t identify with until you’re in a situation of having lost mobility, sight or hearing.”
As a celebrity ambassador for Cure Kids, Dai has raised awareness and funds for the charity in the three years he’s been involved.
Leah (left) and her nephew Romeo (6) were Dai’s biggest Turbo Touch cheerleaders.
A recent highlight was meeting Leah Hickey (17), who has spina bifida. The Waitakere College student had open heart surgery and spinal surgery by the time she was two.
“At three, she had major bladder augmentation and part of her bowel removed,” says Leah’s mum Sandra.
Now, after 20 operations, Leah has regained 90% of her mobility. She enjoys dancing, singing, handball, table tennis, volleyball and was part of the junior wheelchair basketball team that won gold at this year’s Disability Games. Dai and Leah have a lot in common.
“We both like dancing,” exclaims Dai (36). “I love rock ‘n’ roll music and table tennis. I play cricket every week, social touch and netball. Having a two-year-old means my wife and I play alternate nights.”
Leah cheered Dai on at the Turbo Touch celebrity match held at the Trusts Stadium last month. But her “We love Dai” and “Dai rocks” signs unfortunately couldn’t lead his team to victory. TV One sports presenter Jenny-May Coffin’s team took out Dai’s in a challenge of skill, fitness and wit.
“Leah was there in support, but didn’t stop me from falling over! I was nervous playing against athletes who run around with balls. I usually just stand there with a microphone,” laughs Dai. “Being 165cm, contact sport is not ideal!”
As a celebrity ambassador for Cure Kids, Dai helps raise awareness and funds for the charity.
Dai admits his pre-game preparation was a little out of leftfield. “I stood in front of the mirror to practice my passing – I had to have a stylish pass! Leah inspired me to play a good game and promote a good cause.”
While Dai is motivated by children living with illness, the prospect of living with a sick child hit home when he became a father to Charlie.
“Having a child made me realise the emotional toll this would have, not only on the parents, but on the extended family,” Dai explains. “Children give me a buzz. Every child that shares their story offers another reason to support organisations that enable change.”

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