On Sunday, 21 runners and walkers supported the local Lions’ organization’s eighth walk to raise funds for their Dog guides foundation and raised $5,090 in the event.
Since 1983, the national foundation has raised funds to support to Canadians with disabilities, such as the blind or visually impaired; deaf or hard of hearing; people with physical disabilities; those with epilepsy, children with autism and Diabetics who are hypo glycemic unaware. More than 1,200 Canadians have received Guide dogs which help provide safety, mobility and independence, but raising and training each animal costs roughly $25,000. Thanks to the Lions’ Club, the animals are provided to Canadians at no cost.
Dog guides are trained to address specific challenges. The more familiar variety provide support to those who are blind or visually impaired, but there are also dogs trained to support the hearing impaired who are trained to distinguish sounds such as telephone, alarm and doorbell rings and crying babies and notifying their owners of the event and leading them to the source of the sound. Some dogs are trained to help victims of seizures and others assist families with children on the autism spectrum. In these cases, the animals offer companionship and unconditional love, reducing the stress and anxiety that these children often experience in public settings. Through their acute sense of smell, some dogs are trained to detect sudden drops in their handler’s blood sugar to prompt them to address the situation before the situation becomes life-threatening.
This year, the event has a new sponsor in PetValu, which has been a generous supporter for many years. Thanks to their support, 100% of the proceeds from all the Walks across Canada go directly towards raising, training, and providing dog guides to Canadians.
The event started at the Masonic Lodge and included human and canine participants who spent approximately two hours travelling one of the two routes set up through town or through the trails at Medd’s Mountain. The Millbrook & District Lions Clubs’ food trailer was on hand providing refreshments for all participating walkers.
In addition to Lions’ club volunteers, members of the Millbrook Community Police and Millbrook Fire Department were also on hand to provide support to the walkers and offer some traffic control. Thanks to Apsley & District Lions Club and Kendal Lions Club for their support, the local businesses for the generous donations to the prize table, and all participants for coming out for the event in support of a great cause! KG