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Tenacious Teen HOY's Cure Kids' Ambassador

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Photography by markreeves63photography, DunedinOne day while out riding her horse, Izzy Klough got a nose-bleed that wouldn’t stop. So her mum Suzanne took her to hospital, and that day their lives changed forever.

“I told the kids we would be back from hospital in an hour, but we didn’t make it home for eight weeks,” Suzanne recalls.

“The oncology unit at Dunedin Hospital became Izzy’s second home for two years.”

Izzy missed a year of school – and she lost all her hair twice. She battled acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), enduring hundreds of procedures including debilitating chemotherapy and losing friends made in hospital. One thing the feisty Dunedin eight-year-old took solace in was riding her horse.  And they were an award-winning duo, winning many supreme champion ribbons.

When Izzy begged her mum Suzanne to take her to Horse of the Year, even though she was hospital-bound on treatment, her mum didn’t hesitate.

“We told the medical staff we had to go to a family wedding and they organised for her to have chemo at the local hospital.

So we loaded up the ponies – including Brookfields Dream Maker – and went to Horse of the Year.

“We didn’t want Izzy’s illness to take over her life, and even though doctors told her to give up riding, we wanted her to have something to look forward to.”

Now in remission, Izzy, 17, was a clear choice to represent Horse of the Year’s official charity Cure Kids at this year’s event.

An award-winning showie, Izzy has been a Cure Kids ambassador for several years.

The charity funds research into a wide range of children’s life-threatening illnesses, including ALL. Thanks to medical research, a child with ALL now has a 90% chance of remission, compared to only 50% in the 1970s.

Although she was given the all clear in 2006, and has only hazy memories of her treatment, Izzy lives with the fear it could return.

“It is something that never really goes away for her, it will be the back of her mind forever,” Suzanne says.
This year Izzy is progressing from pony to park hack. Over winter she will train on her 155.5cm Anglo-Arabian horse Masquerade, who placed in the park hack section at the 2012 Horse of the Year, ridden by Kelsey Duncan.

“It is fantastic that she can be the Cure Kids ambassador for Horse of the Year. The horse community have been incredibly supportive of her so this is a great way to thank them and show what can be done through research into children’s illnesses,” says Suzanne.

“This is her passion, rain hail or snow. You have to be passionate and determined to succeed at horse shows. It is the same when you are fighting an illness – you need to be tenacious.
“It’s fantastic that Horse of the Year is helping raise funds to help kids like Izzy have the best chance to survive and thrive.”

About Cure Kids:

  • Cure Kids is the official charity of Horse of the Year.
  • Cure Kids funds vital medical research into a wide range of children’s life-threatening conditions including leukaemia and other cancers, heart diseases, cystic fibrosis, cot death, Type-1 diabetes, asthma and epilepsy.
  • Approximately one child in 30 in New Zealand – roughly one in every classroom - lives with a life-threatening illness or genetic malformation.
  • Cure Kids aims to improve children’s quality of life and prolong their life whilst searching for cures.
  • For details of how to help create a better life for our Kiwi kids, go to www.curekids.org.nz


Photography by markreeves63photography, Dunedin

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