Three Kiwi youngsters are all set to drive an auto-rickshaw in India for about 3000 km, all by themselves, that too without much training and preparation, to support a charity that they all adore.

Joshua Bardell, Sean Boult and Emily Spink, who are “a science guy, a sales guy and a media gal from New Zealand,” who met in January, while volunteering at Camp Purple Live, a camp for children and teens with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, are excited about the prospects of experiencing a genuinely exhilarating India. 

Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are chronic autoimmune diseases that affect the digestive system, collectively known as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Both cause debilitating pain, hospitalisations, repeat surgeries and a severely reduced quality of life.

New Zealand has the highest incidence rate of IBD in the world. A Givealittle fundraiser has been created asking generous Kiwi donors to support the youngsters’ genuine desire to make a difference in the lives of those who endure through the IBD. The trio aims to raise $15,000, of which generous Kiwi donors have already helped with $13,800 at the time of the story.

Speaking to The Indian Weekender, Josh said, “We all suffer from IBD and have met earlier this year in a camp in NZ.”

Joshua Bardell, Sean Boult and Emily Spink (Image: Ishan Kokulan Photography)

“It’s not a pretty disease, and despite being more common than type 1 diabetes in New Zealand, it is rarely talked about. Perhaps worst of all, there is no cure, and the best treatments are sometimes worse than the disease itself,” he added.

“We are covering our own personal costs, including airfares, food, accommodation, fuel, visas and vaccinations (and an additional $1000 that the Rickshaw Run team require us to raise for Cool Earth to save the rainforests), so 100 per cent of the funds raised on Givealittle will go to Crohn’s and Colitis NZ for Camp Purple Live 2020,” their post on the Givealittle page said.

The trio will be starting their Indian odyssey at Kochi (Southern India) on August 12, finishing around August 25 at Jaisalmer, Rajasthan in Western India.

Inviting generous donors to support in their endeavours for this charity that they all adore, Josh said, “We ask that a small donation of $500.00 through our Givealittle page will get you some prime real estate on our hopefully trusty steed.”

“The cool thing is we can decorate our Rickshaw as we please, so we will be plastering the names of our sponsors over our (hopefully) trusty steed. We will also be documenting our journey on social media, with blogs and video,” their post on Givealittle page said.