JP and Mitch hit and kick their way to Berlin2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
Special Olympics Auckland is fundraising to send two local athletes to the 2023 Special Olympics in Berlin.
Māngere Bridge resident John Peter (JP) Roux was chosen for his football skills, and Mitch Brown from Waiheke was selected for golf. The games will be held in June, and will be a trip of a lifetime for these sport stars, one that they could never have dreamt of taking.
However, the organisation has to raise $18,000 each to get the boys on the plane. Efforts are already well underway, with a lottery being run and quiz nights held at the Onehunga Combined Sports Trust pavilion at Waikaraka Park. Special Olympics Auckland uses Waikaraka Park and the clubrooms for training and events, and is raising funds for both athletes. Spokesperson Mike Ringrose says they are grateful to the Trust for allowing them to use the building at no charge.
JP’s mum, Lydia, is also holding sausage sizzles, and a fashion show featuring JP and Mitch, at Kitchen ‘n Things, Lunn Avenue, on Saturday, May 20th. The show will feature clothes by major New Zealand designers, including Onehunga’s own Tav Pacific.
Mitch will be the lone Kiwi on the golf course at the games, while JP will be part of the first New Zealand team to play in the seven-a-side football. They have both been through a long selection process, where they were not only assessed on their sporting skills, but also their all-round personal qualities.
The trip is also not just about playing sport. They will stay with local families, and will have an adventure as they explore Berlin and enjoy sightseeing in the three weeks they’ll be away.
Lydia says JP “lives for Special Olympics.” His week is built around training, competing and being with his friends. She says due to his condition, he cannot read or write, which means he struggles to find a job. So the Special Olympics are a vital social outlet for him and it gives him the chance to live up to his hero, John Cena’s, motto, “never give up.”
Open your hearts, and your wallets, and help get these sports stars to Berlin. The tickets for the fashion show are available for $35 at the door (6.30pm start) or go to the donation pages to donate: givealittle.co.nz/cause/help-jp-get-to-berlin and givealittle.co.nz/cause/mitchies-olympic-dream.