Rod Rutherford– a tanker operator from Fonterra Tirau, had his world turned upside-down 12 months ago, after a cough led to a diagnosis of stage 4 cancer.
Rod, now in his recovery process and doing well, felt inspired to live a little differently – to have an adventure, and to make a difference in his own life and the lives of others.
“It’s been a time of thinking about the world and what the future holds. There’s been times of thought and times of sorrow. But, regardless of all of that, there’s been an underlying feeling in myself that I’d like to have an adventure” says Rod.
So, Rod decided to cycle New Zealand, to raise awareness and fundraise for cancer research.
In early February, he took off on his e-bike right at the bottom of the South Island in Bluff, and plans to make his way up the country to end his adventure in Cape Reinga.
As he heads North, he has been enjoying the sights, chatting to the locals and visiting all the quirky destinations the South has to offer.
“I had an amazing dream, and in this dream, I cycled the country. The only problem was, I didn’t have a bike. A few weeks later, my brother gave me a bike, so I decided to follow that dream. And I’m glad I did, because I have been meeting the loveliest people and having the best time,” says Rod.
Rod arrived in Greymouth on Monday, after taking a train from Christchurch across to the West Coast. He is taking the highs and lows of his journey in his stride – not letting a flat tyre or the changeable weather stop him
“Rod is a really awesome guy that is goal driven - probably from his former Navy life,” says Dale Richards, Rod’s Depot Manager at Fonterra.
After working as an Operations Manager at a logistics company, Rod felt like a career change and joined Fonterra about eight seasons ago. He says the thing he enjoys the most about his job is the team he gets to work with, who have offered him a huge amount of support through some hard times.
“The biggest highlight from my time driving for Fonterra have been the guys I work with. We’re a really tight group who look after each other. And the support they have shown for me and for what I am doing is amazing”.
“I know a lot of people will be rooting for me to make it… As I go, the scenery will change, the weather will change, everything will change. But the biggest thing I hope, is that I will change… That there will be parts of me that I can be more at peace with,” says Rod.
If you would like to help Rod’s cause, you can donate to his fundraiser here.