Lions share walk duties

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AFTER a successful inaugural event last year, Lions members in many parts of the country are again organising 10-10-10 walks to raise money to help disabled children walk.
The walks, so named because they are 10km long, held in the 10th month of the year and start at 10am, will be held on Sunday, October 16.   The aim is to raise money for Hart walkers for disabled children.

Developed by David Hart, a trained medical engineer working in the United Kingdom, the walkers combine a bracing system and a walking base with elastic cords adjusted to address unbalanced muscles and the child’s growth. The same walker can be used by a child from age 3-20.

Lions Clubs NZ Child Mobility Foundation chairman Rodger Millar, of Invercargill, said Lions clubs in this country had fundraised for more than 150 walkers over 12 years and the foundation was formed in 2011 to provide more focused management.
In New Zealand each walker cost $9850 which included shipment, two clinics and the child’s first pair of leg calipers and boots, he said.

Last year’s walks raised $31,000, which Mr Millar said he was very happy about.
“The foundation started with no money, and you can’t fund much with no money. So our idea – and it’s not there yet – is to hold an annual event to build up a capital fund so we can use the interest to fund walkers.”

The work was rewarding, he said.
“When you see a child who has never stood up in their life on [a walker] it rips your heart a bit. And the parents are chuffed as well.”

This week is Lions Awareness Week.  Lions Clubs International is the largest service organisation in the world and will celebrate its centenary next year. Worldwide there are now 1.4 million members, including over 10,000 in New Zealand.

Southern District Governor Graeme Wilson, of Invercargill, said the district’s 48 clubs and just over 1400 members carried out numerous fundraising projects each year, supporting charities and organisations such as Hospice Southland, diabetes stem cell research, and many local projects.

Lions created walkways and planted trees, and supported youth development through events such as speech competitions, leadership camps, Camp Quality for young people living with cancer, and youth exchange programmes.For more information about the 10-10-10 walks go to www.lionsclubs.org.nz or phone Rodger Millar, 03 217 566. For more information about Lions clubs membership go to the website or phone Graeme Wilson, 03 217 2754.
– Allison Beckham

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