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Issue No. 411 March 2017

Farewell to inspirational Anton

Four years ago Constable Anton Kuraia was told he had weeks to live.

Constable Anton Kuraia and supporters at Parliament after his epic walk.

Last month he finally succumbed to leukaemia after an inspiring campaign to promote the natural therapies he credited with his remarkable remission.

There was a ‘sea of blue’ and a guard of honour as Police colleagues joined Anton’s family at a celebration of his life in Whangarei.

After being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in 2013, Anton underwent intensive chemotherapy without success before being sent home to await the inevitable.

He turned to natural therapies – including high-dose intravenous vitamin C – with the support of colleagues who raised money to help fund the expensive treatments.

In ten weeks the cancer was in remission. Anton was able to return to work – and he set up the 809 Foundation to help others access the same therapies.

In February 2015 he set out from his home station at Whangarei for an epic 809km, 31-day walk to Parliament. He was joined by colleagues, friends, fellow survivors and wellwishers as he raised money for, and awareness of, the 809 Foundation.

Last month Anton’s wife Louise posted on the 809 Foundation’s Facebook page that he had suffered a relapse in April and was “now in the final stages of this life’s journey”.

The post included a video of father-of-three Anton playing golf on Christmas Day – another landmark his doctors did not expect him to reach.

Police tributes at the celebration of Anton’s life were led by Northland District Commander Superintendent Russell Le Prou.

He praised Anton’s work with Otangarei Neighbourhood Policing Team and a Waitangi weekend Iwi Liaison team.

He said he would like to recruit “150 Antons or Antonesses”. Anton was “professional, extremely loyal, loved being a police officer, and importantly, loved wearing his uniform,” Russell told the gathering.

“He was courageous, had a real strength of character, was stubborn, very very determined and, without knowing it, a great leader of people. He was able to galvanise many New Zealanders.”

The work goes on. Go to givealittle.co.nz to donate.

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