Nine-year-old Riaan Joshi has raised more than $2,000 for Loud Shirt Day!
Riaan, who’s in Year 5 at Kelson School in Lower Hutt has single-sided deafness which was detected when he started school in 2019.
His mum Megha says he doesn’t feel any different to the other kids at school but knows that he’s part of a ‘unique bunch’.
“Riaan has always felt that his single sided hearing is a ‘normal’ situation, and it doesn’t hold him back in any way,” she says.
“He’s very determined to not let anything get in his way – be it sports, academics or playing pranks along with his friends!
Back in October, Riaan signed up to do a 50/50 challenge in support of the national Loud Shirt Day campaign, which raises funds to ensure everyone in New Zealand has access to cochlear implant technology and lifetime support.
“Through his fundraising for Loud Shirt Day, he feels strongly that he wants to talk openly about being hard of hearing and help educate others around the challenges he and thousands of other New Zealanders face,” she says.
For someone who loves cricket, football, chess and reading, he set himself the Herculean goal of running 50km in a month and doing 50 push-ups every day.
“I can’t say running and push-ups were his favourite activities to be honest,” says his dad, Niraj. “He’s always been an outdoorsy kind of person, but he’s really had to push himself on those fronts.
“Running is what we do as a family activity at least twice a week and we have a great circle around us who encourage us in this routine too.
“We needed a physical fitness challenge for Riaan and then coupling it with a cause that we knew Riaan was going to be honest to just “clicked” as a great idea.
“I’m so proud of his commitment and dedication. And I think he’s proud of what he’s managed to achieve, too.”
Megha is very thankful that school, family, and friends (near and far) have been very supportive, not only on the fundraising front, but also in the day-to-day.
“Riaan said to me that he didn’t realise that what he was doing was so special and that we’re so fortunate to be surrounded by kind and awesome people. I couldn’t agree more.
“The flow of donations has kept him super motivated and as parents, we feel very proud and
fortunate that Riaan has been able to go through this “process” and come out smiling.
“It’s certainly helped him gain a lot of self-confidence.”
Riaan has now raised just over $2,000 across three initiatives – the runs and push-ups, school lunch orders, and presentations at school on Loud Shirt Day which was held at the end of October.
While Riaan finished his monthly runs and push-ups at the end of November, he’s still accepting donations until the end of December. Anyone who wants to contribute to his fundraising efforts can donate here.