Top Canterbury harness racing driver diagnosed with rare lung cancer

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Oct 21, 2023 |

Photo: Supplied

Katie Cox, a renowned horsewoman, trainer, driver, and former show jumper, has been diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of lung cancer that primarily affects young non-smoking females.

Despite her young age of 33, Katie’s diagnosis came after what seemed like an innocuous cough a month ago led her to consult a doctor and initially be prescribed antibiotics.

Cox operates a stable at Leeston on a property formerly owned by the late Peter Cowan and Ray Kennedy.

The stable is named Te Awatea after her great grandfather and her grandfather’s farm on the Chatham Islands.


Rural personality Craig Wiggins, moved by Katie’s situation, has set up a charitable trust in her name, the “Whatever with Wiggy Charitable Trust”, aiming to raise funds for her costly treatment.

Racing luminaries Ricky May and Bruce Taylor have aligned with Wiggins, acting as trustees.

Kirstin Green, a leading Southland trainer-driver, expressed her distress upon learning of Katie’s health battle.

Green has committed to donating one of her driving fees weekly for the ensuing month, hoping her peers will join in her generosity.

“Like everyone else, I was so shocked when I found out about Katie’s diagnosis,” Green remarked. “We are in the same industry and around the same age group. Her team is flying, and she is an outstanding horsewoman.”

Green added, “I thought if every driver could donate a driving fee each week, it would be a really quick way to raise quite a lot of money. I am sure other drivers will get on board.”


Several harness racing clubs have also shown their unwavering support for Katie. Southern Harness Racing and the Northern Southland Trotting Club have both committed $1000 each. “Southern Harness is right behind Katie and her family during this very difficult time,” Jason Broad, the general manager, noted.

In a personal gesture of solidarity, Invercargill Harness Racing Club President Craig Heyrick has pledged $100 to the campaign, urging other club presidents to follow suit.

Jonny Turner, a harness racing owner and journalist, made a heartfelt appeal to fellow owners, urging them to support Katie’s cause. “I am sure Katie’s story will have touched many owners across New Zealand. I encourage my colleagues in the media to get behind the cause, too.”

The ideal treatment options are costly, with the first recommended medication alone surpassing $100,000. As this is a rare form of cancer, Katie faces a challenging battle ahead.

How You Can Help:

Donations can be made to the Whatever with Wiggy Charitable Trust. Trustees Ricky May, Craig Wiggins, and Bruce Taylor will ensure that your contributions directly support Katie’s treatment and related expenses.

Account Details for Donations:

  • Bank: Whatever with Wiggy Charitable Trust CC59951Katie Cox Appeal

  • Account Number: 06-0837-0390071-01

  • Reference: Please use “Katie”. For anonymous donations, please use “Anon” in the reference.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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