Woman to travel 100km in her wheelchair to fundraise for autism charity
- Credit: Philippa Sjoberg
A Little Downham woman plans to travel 100km in her wheelchair to raise funds for a charity that trains dogs to help those with autism.
Philippa Sjoberg works for the cause Dogs for Autism and has family members on the autistic spectrum.
She has seen first-hand the benefits dogs can offer those with the condition, and also the impact the pandemic has had on small charities.
Philippa, who is a a dog trainer, said: “For someone with autism, these dogs can transform their lives.
“They’ve helped people who have never gone out before leave the house. I know of someone who hasn’t spoken to anyone else other than their mother, and their dog has helped them go to school.
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“I work for a fantastic cause.”
The charity's fundraising efforts are part of the “Captain Tom 100” fundraising weekend over the next bank holiday, between April 30 and May 3.
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This year would’ve been his 101st birthday and small charities are commemorating his legacy by organising their own fundraising opportunities.
Dogs for Autism is encouraging its participants to travel virtually together to reach a combined distance of 100km.
They can use any form of travel – walking, running, swimming or even on horseback – and Philippa wants to complete the entire distance in her wheelchair.
Philippa said: “Small charities have been hit hard over the last year during the pandemic.
“The government hasn’t been able to offer support to the smaller charities, key fundraising events and opportunities have been cancelled and many have had to furlough their staff.
“For us in particular, the price of dogs has gone through the roof. It has made things very hard.
“So we really hope this fundraising weekend will help raise much-needed funds.”
Dogs for Autism was set up in 2018 by dog trainer Hilary Armour who was unable to get an assistance dog for her son.
She then saw there was a massive demand for dogs from families who needed support.
Her vision is that the charity will support the autistic community in the same way Guide Dogs for the Blind helps the blind and partially sighted.
To sponsor Philippa, donate via the Dogs for Autism fundraising page on its Captain Tom 100 site.