Media Advisory: Oregon Dash for Puppy Cash

WOMAN WITH CEREBRAL PALSY TO DO “OREGON DASH FOR PUPPY CASH,” A 300-MILE WHEELCHAIR RIDE FOR CHARITY

TaniaHector9WHO: Tania Finlayson, from Kirkland, Wash., who has been confined to a wheelchair her entire life with cerebral palsy, with support from her family, and volunteers with Machinists Union District Lodge 751 in Seattle.

WHAT: A 300-mile wheelchair trip to raise funds for Guide Dogs of America, a California-based charity that provides service dogs and training in their use free to people who are blind or have impaired vision from across North America. Tania will take part in District 751’s annual Flight for Sight fun run – a 5K and 10K run that is itself a fundraiser for Guide Dogs of America – then leave from the Flight for Sight’s start/finish line after the race. Her goal: Raise $42,000, which is the cost of breeding, raising, training and pairing one guide dog with one blind person.

WHERE: The Flight for Sight start/finish line is at the Boeing Everett Activity Center, 6098 36th Ave. W. Tania will follow bicycle trails from Everett through Bothell to Issaquah, Wash., then back through Kirkland and around Lake Washington on the Burke-Gilman Trail to the University of Washington campus. From there she will follow the route of the annual Seattle-to-Portland Bicycle Classic into Oregon. The last leg will be along the Springwater Corridor from Portland to Gladstone, Ore., where she will conclude her run at the Machinists Union District Lodge W-24 union hall at 25 Cornell Ave., where she will be greeted by Guide Dogs of America puppies and trainers from the greater Portland area.

WHEN: The Flight for Sight run begins at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, June 8. Tania will participate in the 10K, then leave the fun run around 11 a.m. She expects to arrive in Gladstone on June 11, but says she will continue until she reaches her destination.

WHY: Tania – who speaks through a computer system that she controls with her head, using Morse code – says she wants to help people she considers to be less fortunate than her. Tania says she was first inspired to attempt to raise money for Guide Dogs of America while taking part in last year’s Flight for Sight. “As I was doing the race, I thought of how it would be if I was blind,” she says. Trying to drive a wheelchair without her vision “would be pretty scary. Not to mention it would put limits on my independence, and that would be something that I would just hate.”

TaniaKing3HOW: Tania will drive her electric-motor wheelchair, which she controls with her chin. She will be accompanied much of the way by her husband, Ken, who will ride a bike. Her son, Michael, and other family members will ride along in a motor home. A District 751 support van will escort Tania and Ken. The route will take her from Everett, through or past Bothell, Kirkland, Redmond, Issaquah, Seattle, Auburn, Kent, Federal Way, Puyallup, Tacoma, Centralia, Longview and Portland to her finish line in Gladstone, where she will be greeted by volunteers who raise and train puppies for Guide Dogs of America in the Portland area.

HOW TO DONATE: Donations can be made online at http://dashforcash.kinterra.org. Businesses can sponsor Tania by going to www.IAM751.org/DashForCash Information on the Flight for Sight fun run is available at www.FlightforSight.com

HOW TO FOLLOW ALONG: www.Facebook.com/SpokaneDash4PuppyCash

NOTES TO EDITORS:

1) Tania originally had planned for a “Spokane Dash for Puppy Cash” between Kirkland and Spokane, Wash., only to learn last week that the Washington Department of Transportation had denied her permission to travel along Interstate 90, citing safety concerns. Rather than give up, Tania decided to re-route.

2) As of noon Thursday, Tania had raised more than $23,700, of which nearly $19,000 had been collected by Machinists Union stewards and volunteers.

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