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Sight-Impaired Woman Honoured To Carry Flame

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SIGHT-IMPAIRED WOMAN HONOURED TO BE CARRYING THE OLYMPIC FLAME

A sight impaired central Auckland woman, Jo Legge, has been chosen to carry the Olympic flame in Auckland on 7 June on its way to the Sydney Olympic Games.

"When I first received the letter from the New Zealand Olympic Games Committee, I couldn't believe it," Jo says. "Me, amongst all those sports people and dignitaries - it's such an honour.

"Now I'm so excited about it, I'm thinking of ways to practice carrying 2 kilos over 500 metres so I'm all ready for the big event.

"And what makes it just a bit more special for me personally is that the relay is only five days after my fifty-ninth birthday. I Jo, a member of the Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind, believes she was invited to participate because of her commitment to improving the lives of underprivileged children through her annual pre-Christmas barbeques.

Originally from Wellington, Jo moved to Auckland six years ago and has been putting on the Cornwall Park barbeques for children and their families every year since then.

Her enthusiasm for her cause has caught on - Jo has no problem convincing more than 120 businesses all over New Zealand to contribute to the annual event.

"The first year was the hardest," Jo says. "I had to wrap 2000 presents on my own, but now I have a steady band of helpers to give me a hand."

She also contributes her time and energy to other charitable activities for people during the year. Jo accomplishes all this in spite of being sight impaired and partially deaf.

As a registered member of the Foundation for the Blind, Jo uses to a number of different services like techniques of daily living (TDL) which teaches people how to be safe and independent with everyday tasks like using appliances, safe medication practices and cooking. Recently Jo has been using the skills of a TDL instructor to look at suitable options for task lighting to maximise high contrast.

She believes that nothing should hold back someone's passion for achieving his or her goals.

The Olympic flame arrives in its first New Zealand destination, Queenstown, on 5 June. It then travels to Christchurch, Wellington and Rotorua before arriving in Auckland on 7 June. Jo is listed as the eighteenth torch bearer.

ENDS

MEDIA RELEASE FROM THE ROYAL NEW ZEALAND FOUNDATION FOR THE BLIND

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