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Kiwi's Dig Deep for Catwalk Trust

The world's finances may be in crisis, but in Christchurch this week Kiwis dug deep to raise $214,250, funding ground-breaking research towards a cure for spinal cord injuries.

Thursday 13 November's auction celebrated the conclusion of the CatWalk Conquest Tour, a two-week tour of New Zealand by the Conquest motorcycle, the world's first motorcycle designed for wheelchair users.

"Kiwis really are a generous lot - even in the midst of a financial crisis and global credit crunch it seems that here in New Zealand we can still see a good and important cause when it's put in front of us," says Catriona Williams, Founder of the CatWalk SCI Trust.

A nationwide tour from Auckland to Invercargill of the Conquest three-wheeler, high performance motorcycle gave 17 individual Kiwis confined to wheelchairs a chance to get behind the handlebars and feel the wind in their hair.

The Conquest motorcycle was auctioned at the Wigram Airforce Museum as part of the Up & Away Charity Dinner & Auction on 13 November. Going for $50,000 the Conquest will be put to great use and shared between the Burwood and Otara Spinal Units.

Also amongst the auction items was the much heralded 'Bow of Champions'.
A violin bow made from the tail hairs of some of the world's most successful race horses, the Bow of Champions prompted a fierce bidding battle. Three times Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva, the multiple Group One winning mare Sunline, the Breeders Cup champion Ouija Board and the legendary stallions Sadlers Wells, Redoute's Choice and Zabeel all feature in the bow, which reached $27,250 on the night of auction.

Proceeds from a wide range of auction items sold at the Up & Away event will be gifted to the New Zealand Spinal Trust to assist SCI sufferers with independent living and rehabilitation needs. Proceeds will also go towards CatWalk's goal of finding a cure for SCI and getting people out of wheelchairs and back onto their feet.

"We're just overwhelmed with the tremendous level of support and encouragement New Zealanders have shown CatWalk and our attempts to fund research towards finding a cure for spinal cord injuries," says Catriona Williams, Founder of CatWalk SCI Trust.

"With the exciting developments in spinal cord injury research currently underway, the funds raised from the CatWalk Conquest tour and auction may just get Kiwis out of wheelchairs and on their feet sooner than you think."

- Charlotte Gendall