Grant’s pedal power raises $4000 for dog trust

Auckland City Harbour News - - Front Page - By Scott Mor­gan

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.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

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.

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