Running for a pawesome cause | Guide Dogs NSW/ACT

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12 August, 2016

Running for a pawesome cause

Mike Thomas in his City2Surf gear kneeling on the grass next to Guide Dogs Ambassador Dog, Andy

Supporter runs City2Surf for Guide Dogs

Almost two decades since his last race, Mike Thomas, who is 78 years old, will be hitting the pavement once again this Sunday to raise funds for Guide Dogs NSW/ACT in the City2Surf.

In preparation for the 14 kilometre track, Mike has been training around his Retirement Village in Belrose.

"I've been doing some resistance training in the pool and going for long walks. I even joined a gym a couple of weeks ago," Mike said.

While Mike is no stranger to marathons, this will be his first time participating in Sydney's iconic annual running event.

"I've competed in the London Marathon three times before, but the last time I did that was back in 2000," Mike said.

"I am 78 years old now, so I might be crawling on all fours to the finish line, but I like a challenge," he laughed.

So far, the Belrose resident has raised $1,600 for the organisation, which receives less than two per cent of its funding needs from the government.

"My goal was $500, so I'm very happy with what we've got so far," Mike said.

"When my wife and I lived in England we raised funds for Guide Dogs. It's an organisation very close to our hearts, so this is an opportunity for us to continue supporting a great cause."

Mike said he raised the majority of the money last weekend, when Guide Dogs Public Relations Speaker, D'Arcy Sharpe, visited the Belrose Retirement Village with his Guide Dog to talk about his personal experience with vision loss.

"It was great to get a visit from D'Arcy and his Guide Dog, Oregon. We held a gold-coin sausage sizzle and a raffle, it was very successful."

Mike would particularly like to thank Newealth (Financial Planners), Ryde Eastwood Leagues Club, Belrose Liquor Superstore, Belrose Country Club (Retirement Village) and all individuals who donated for their generous support.

It takes more than two years and costs more than $35,000 to breed, raise and train one Guide Dog.

"With the demand for Guide Dogs' services increasing due to growing numbers of people having trouble getting around as a result of vision loss, we're incredibly grateful for the support we receive from the community," said Natalie Moses, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Acting General Manager Fundraising.

"It's thanks to the public's generosity, through volunteering or donations, that we can continue providing services to clients at no cost."

To thank Mike for his generosity, he received a special visit from Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Ambassador Dog Andy. 

There are an estimated 300,000 Australians with uncorrectable vision loss, 100,000 of whom live in NSW and the ACT. These figures are predicted to increase by more than 50% by 2030.