Sofi Crosley is a pretty awesome individual: not only has she run the width of New Zealand to raise money for the Granulosa Cell Tumour Research Foundation (GCTRF), when a spinal fusion procedure prevented her from running, she hopped on a bike and rode the length of the country for the same great cause. HELL was so impressed, it offered free pizza or pasta for every night of the ride.
“It was great not having to worry about preparing meals, especially after some really hard days,” says Sofi. “I’m really thankful to HELL, and everyone else who supported me!”
Other than a home-cooked dinner in her native Christchurch, Sofi reckons she sampled most of HELL’s menu over the 16 nights of her gruelling ride. The highlight came after losing her bearings and finding herself in Albany.
“The weather was absolutely terrible and I was meant to be in Mt Albert. I felt miserable and didn’t want to go back outside. I was so happy to see HELL’s delivery boy, I gave him a big hug!”
Since losing her mother Sladjana in 2009 to a rare form of ovarian cancer, Sofi has dedicated much of her life to fundraising for the GCTRF; her mum founded the charity after being diagnosed with the disease.
Sofi raised $12,000 from her bike ride from Cape Reinga to Bluff, covering more than 2,200km and battling wind, rain and even the law.
“When it came time to cross Auckland Harbour, none of the ferries were running because it was a public holiday,” Sofi says. “I started biking towards the bridge, but turned back after some drivers made it clear I shouldn’t be there!
“I was trying to hitch, and a police car pulled over. They were going to fine me $250, but I explained what I was doing and they dropped me off on the other side.”
In 2013, Sofi ran four marathons in five weeks across three different continents. Her run from Christchurch to Hokitika took five days and covered more than 250km.
Sofi’s stepfather Powel now manages the GCTRF and together they have raised and donated more than $60,000 towards research grants.
One of the scientists they supported recently received a five-year grant worth one million euros from the Finnish Government.
“He told us that without the funding, he’d never have been able to get this far in his research; that makes all the hard work worthwhile,” she says. “Hopefully one day someone will make a breakthrough, which will prevent another family having to deal with the pain we went through.”
To make a donation go to www.gctf.org.nz