Film pro­ceeds help Noah

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By MEGHAN LAWRENCE

ONE fam­ily’s quest to raise funds for a spe­cial needs as­sis­tance dog has been met with sup­port from gen­er­ous film pro­mot­ers.

Natasha and Shane Wheeler cre­ated a Givealit­tle page to help raise $20,000 to pro­vide their autis­tic son Noah with a trained com­pan­ion.

Two months on the How­ick fam­ily has re­ceived more than $6000 in dona­tions and is set to be the ben­e­fi­ciary of an in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed movie screen­ing.

Ma­ree Neal, event or­gan­iser of the New Zealand pre­miere of Song Of the New Earth, a doc­u­men­tary about US sound spe­cial­ist Tom Kenyon, says the screen­ing pro­vides the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to help the fam­ily.

‘‘When I re­ceived an email about the Wheeler’s fundraiser I had a gut re­ac­tion that there was some­thing I could do to help,’’ Neal says.

She hopes to raise about $1000 from the screen­ing, with about 70 per cent of pro­ceeds go­ing to Noah’s cause.

‘‘I ask Auck­lan­ders to open their hearts and wal­lets and come to the event and sup­port Noah,’’ she says.

Noah’s mother Natasha has been amazed at the sup­port they have re­ceived and is keep­ing pos­i­tive that they can reach the $20,000 tar­get.

‘‘The world is full of such spe­cial peo­ple and so many peo­ple I don’t even know have come for­ward to help,’’ she says.

Six-year-old

Noah

has se­vere autism spec­trum dis­or­der and global devel­op­ment de­lay which af­fects his speech and un­der­stand­ing of words, lit­eral think­ing and so­cial in­ter­ac­tions.

The fam­ily is in need of an as­sis­tance dog to help lower the risks as­so­ci­ated with the dis­or­ders.

As­sis­tance Dogs New Zealand founder Julie Han­cox says the $20,000 goes to­wards the rais­ing and train­ing of the dog.

‘‘We do an in-depth as­sess­ment on the in­di­vid­ual’s needs and de­cide on train­ing from the fam­ily’s ideas and our own as­sess­ment,’’ Han­cox says. ‘‘The as­sis­tance dog for Noah will be se­lected on the cri­te­ria that it is good with chil­dren and is calm. The main fac­tor will be tether­ing the dog to Noah to keep him safe.’’

Noah’s dog will be cho­sen from a lit­ter of pups that are cur­rently nine months old and will un­dergo six months train­ing.

Han­cox says one of the big­gest bonuses of own­ing an as­sis­tance dog is they are granted full public ac­cess rights un­der New Zealand law.

Noah Wheeler’s fam­ily is try­ing to raise $20,000 to get him a spe­cial needs as­sis­tance dog.

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