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Collect for 'blind independence'

Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB)
31 August 2006
Media release

Collect for 'blind independence'

Six years ago Neelu (then 16) woke up from a four month coma with such limited vision she is now legally blind and a member of the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB).

Imagine that – one day you're a carefree teenager, studying for exams, hanging out with friends, snowboarding at the weekend. And the next your vision is so limited the little things in life seem unmanageable.

"The support from the Foundation really got me back into life," says Neelu, who fell ill with acute disseminated encephalomyelitis which forced her body into a coma and has severely affected her vision, balance and co-ordination.

"My whole life had suddenly changed. I thought I was never going to achieve anything again because I was blind. But I've graduated from university, discovered tandem cycling and now I'm working my way to the Beijing Paralympics!

"Through the counselling, recreation and adaptive technology services, the Foundation has really let me see what I can achieve."

Unfortunately essential services don't come cheap and Neelu urges New Zealanders to get behind October's Blind Week appeal (24-30 October).

"During Blind Week we must raise $1.1 million. It's such a challenging fundraising climate at the moment, so it's really time for individuals and clubs to get involved," says Patrick Holmes, RNZFB Divisional Manager, Fundraising.

The RNZFB needs volunteers nationwide to 'rattle a bucket' at their local supermarket, CBD or shopping centre for as little as two hours on 27, 28 or 29 October.

Visit www.rnzfb.org.nz or call 0800 002 345 to talk to your local RNZFB Fundraiser about how you can help make Blind Week a success.

It will cost the RNZFB $22 million this year to provide essential services to 11,500 blind, deafblind and vision-impaired New Zealanders. With only one-third from government sources, the RNZFB must raise over $15 million each year through donations, sponsorships, bequests and legacies.

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