Grant’s pedal power raises $4000 for dog trust
Grant Southam has taken on the adventure of a lifetime for people needing a helping hand – or paw.
Over the holiday season, the Mt Albert resident cycled the 2400-odd kilometres from Cape Reinga to Bluff to raise more than $4000 for the Mobility Assistance Dogs Trust.
“Usually in about the middle of the year, I think about what I want to do for the holidays. I enjoy cycling, love our countryside and motorhoming so thought I’d combine all three of those.”
Mr Southam’s family travelled alongside him in a motorhome as far as Wellington, while he rode by himself, staying in motels, for most of the South Island leg of the trip.
While he trained for six months and lost the same amount of kilograms during the 27-day ride, the professional photographer says it was an amazing trip.
“It’s a different experience travelling through New Zealand on a bike, especially when you stop – it’s so quiet.
“You get up at 5am and start at first light, a good three hours before the tourists start and you get the scenery all to yourself.”
The 51-year-old says it wasn’t a hard decision to raise money for mobility dogs after finding out a family friend works for the trust.
“I wanted a charity beside me, but I didn’t want a big charity that would just say: ‘Thanks for the money’.”
It costs $25,000 to train a dog to help disabled people with everyday chores from turning on light switches to loading a washing machine and collecting a phone for their owner in an emergency.
“Our main problem is people still associate us with guide dogs,” Mobility Dogs key relationships manager Jody Hogan says.
“We only deal with people who have long-term disabilities.”
She says the trust has gained a lot more than just financial benefits from Mr Southam’s ride. “It’s great what Grant has been doing to help raise our profile.”
To donate visit www. s out h amc y c l e s s out h . com or for information on mobility dogs go to www. mobilitydogs.co.nz.
Canine companion: Mt Albert resident Grant Southam, with “ambassadog” Chance, cycled from Cape Reinga to Bluff during the holiday season, raising more than $4000 for the Mobility Assistance Dogs Trust.