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Last minute appeal by runners with a cause

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A group of athletes who ran in last week’s Appleby Bermuda Half Marathon Derby are looking to raise some last minute cash for a worthy charity.

Seven members of The Athletic Club took part in the race with a goal to raise $3,000 for autism charity Tomorrow’s Voices.

So far the runners have raised $1,000, but are hoping additional donations will pour in over the next few days. A drop box set up at The Athletic Club and fundraising website (www.youcaring.com/may242013) will be open until the end of today.

After that people can take their donations directly to The Athletic Club, located on Washington Street, Hamilton.

Erica Smith, who sits on the charity’s board of directors, said they were “ecstatic” to hear the club was running on their behalf.

“They have been so generous to date and so this was icing on the cake,” she said.

“The support is so important because of this economy and the challenges all charities are experiencing to keep their doors open.

“It is a struggle to continue to provide our services due to dwindling donations and [high] operating costs.”

Money donated will help Tomorrow’s Voices continue its ABA/VB programme for children with autism and developmental disabilities. It will also help it run a weekend Social Schools Group and Summer Camp Programme.

Ms Smith encouraged people to give as generously as they can.

“For every $10 you donate we are able to provide 30 minutes of therapy to a child in need,” she said. “So as little as just $20 can provide a full hour of services.

“All donations, whether large or small, count and help us to give children with special needs access to opportunities to learn the skills they need to be able to interact in mainstream environments such as in school or in public, so that they have the coping mechanism to live the best life they possibly can.”

Runner Ashley Gillis said just knowing the money was going to a good cause motivated her to push past the physical and mental challenges of the half marathon.

She said it was exciting to wake up on race day and put on her Tomorrow’s Voices shirt.

Hearing people cheer for her along the route and seeing sponsors who had donated gave her the strength to “push that extra bit harder.”

Ms Gillis came into contact with the charity after one of their clients, a teenager with autism, began using the gym.

She said: “Seeing the young boy use the facility and hearing how happy his therapists are to see his progress and what he has been able to complete in a session really made the staff at The Athletic Club smile.

“When Tomorrow's Voices enter our facility there is something that makes the staff stop what they are doing to welcome them and assist in which ever way necessary.”

Although she was aware of what autism was before meeting the teenager, watching him has given her greater insight into the disability and its different spectra, she said.

Useful website: http://www.tomorrowsvoices.bm

Athletic Club member Gina Miles puts her best foot forward in last Friday’s half marathon to raise money for autism charity Tomorrow's Voices.
Ashley Gillis (left) and Gina Miles test their strength in the Bermuda Day half marathon. They are hoping to raise $3,000 for local charity Tomorrow's Voices.

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Published May 31, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated May 30, 2013 at 6:56 pm)

Last minute appeal by runners with a cause

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