Grads become 'eyes and ears' to raise money for Guide Dogs


Community

A team of Suncorp graduates will run the annual Bridge to Brisbane, raising money for Guide Dogs Queensland (GDQ), a charity close to their hearts.

Their efforts are in support of fellow graduate, Henry Macphillamy, who was born with a severe vision impairment and has relied on the support of organisations like Guide Dogs Queensland since the age of five.

“Without the support of Guide Dogs organisations, visually impaired people like myself wouldn’t have anywhere near as much independence, so having my colleagues help me to raise money to support them is fantastic,” said Suncorp’s Legal Graduate Henry.

“Not many people know that while guide dogs are provided for free by Guide Dogs Queensland, they cost upwards of $50,000 to breed, raise and train,”

With Australia’s aging population and an increasing number of people who are blind or visually impaired, demand for guide dogs and other mobility services is increasing.

"We rely on the support of the community to help Queenslanders with low or no vision be independent and live life the way they choose, just like Henry does,” said Michael Kightley, Chief Executive Officer, Guide Dogs Queensland. 

“Running Bridge to Brisbane is a challenge for a lot of us, but it’s nowhere near the challenges people with low or no vision face every day.

“We are so thankful to the graduates at Suncorp for choosing to support Guide Dogs this Bridge to Brisbane and help more people get the assistance they need to continue being independent and active in the community.”

Henry said he had been overwhelmed by the support of his colleagues and the wider Suncorp graduate team. 

“It’s been great that people from all over the company are helping us reach our target through donations, hosting quiz nights and buying ‘Pup-cake’ cupcakes.”

The graduates take on the Bridge to Brisbane on 26 August. Henry will run with a sighted guide who will use a tether to guide him along the 10-kilometre course. 

"If the right kinds of supports are in place, a person’s disability doesn’t necessarily have to be a barrier to the workforce, or any other aspect of life for that matter," said Henry.

Helping the team achieve their goal of raising $30,000 is Suncorp’s Matched Giving initiative, which sees the company match their efforts dollar-for-dollar, doubling what they raise up to the first $2,500.