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Blind Foundation 7-Day Challenge Begins 1 Novermber

Extraordinary Blind Foundation 7 Day Challenge begins 1 November

On Wednesday 1 November 2017 an ambitious group of people – clients of the Blind Foundation - will take on an extraordinary challenge tracking 700km on foot, tandem bikes, kayaks and Waka Ama from Mt Maunganui to Wellington.

Blind Foundation’s National Manager of Community and Life Enrichment Blair Gilbert says the organisation aspires for its clients, who are blind or have low vision, to live a ‘life without limits’. He explains the 7 Day Challenge is an opportunity to push boundaries in the most physically demanding sense.

Highlights of the challenge include a full marathon from Papamoa Beach to Maketu, hiking to the top of Mt Tongariro, whitewater kayaking in National Park and an adventure race from Paraparaumu to Wellington.

Gilbert says: “We hope the event is not only remarkable for its participants, but that it also inspires others to achieve their personal challenges by showing what can be possible with determination and a courageous attitude.

“Achieving a personal challenge can be a catalyst for new pursuits, and it’s something I am proud to have witnessed with many Blind Foundation clients.”

He points to several participants from last year’s inaugural 7 Day challenge who found it a transformative experience. One of these is Shannon Cleave, who self-proclaimed to have never exercised before the challenge. She has since set her sights on competing as a triathlete in the 2020 Paralympics.

The Blind Foundation has a long history of people who are blind or have low vision achieving remarkable pursuits. The 7 Day Challenge bears similarities to a journey made by New Zealander Clutha Mackenzie in 1921, who had lost his sight at age 20 during WWI. He rode over 700 miles on horseback fundraising for the welfare of people who were blind or had low vision. MacKenzie was later appointed director of the Jubilee Institute for the Blind (now the Blind Foundation) in 1923.

The Blind Foundation 7 Day Challenge starts in Mt Maunganui on Wednesday 1 November, and ends in Wellington onTuesday 7 November. This year’s seven participants will be accompanied by a support crew including volunteer guides, and a video producer to document their experience.

The team welcomes the public’s support and encouragement at any point along the journey. The Blind Foundation also invites everyone to consider completing their own personal challenge to show their support with their #WhatsYourChallenge initiative.

Learn more about the 7 Day Challenge including the full itinerary and participants on the Blind Foundation’s website.


About the Blind Foundation

The Blind Foundation works to enable people who are blind or have low vision to be self-reliant and live the life they choose. Our vision is for these Kiwis is to live a “Life without limits”.

We are the main provider of vision rehabilitation and support services for New Zealanders who are blind or have low vision. With a history stretching back more than 125 years, we are one of New Zealand’s oldest charities and an iconic foundation for supporting the blindness community.

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