A 300-mile wheelchair ride to benefit Guide Dogs of America

GDA-IAM751-FinlaysonSEATTLE (May 3, 2013) — For many years, the International Association of Machinists Districts 751 and 160 in Washington state have held fundraisers and collected donations for an organization called the Guide Dogs of America. Union members have participated in Fun Runs (and Dog Jogs), organized bowling and golf tournaments, conducted garage sales and raffles, and ridden in District 751’s famous annual Puppy Putt Motorcycle Ride. Visit the websites of Districts 160 and 751 for details on upcoming fundraisers.

But this year, one courageous woman plans to raise funds for the GDA by driving her electric wheelchair 300 miles from Seattle to Spokane. Tania Finlayson, who has cerebral palsy and is the wife of IAM District 751 member Ken Finlayson, will make the journey June 8-11. You can follow her progress online at her Facebook page, but more importantly, you can support her fundraising efforts by contributing online.

“My goal is to raise $42,000,” Tania says, “which is the cost to pair a blind or visually impaired person with their very own trained guide dog free-of-charge, and allow the person to pursue their goals with increased mobility and independence; which is something I cherish every day.”

Here’s Tania at a recent IAM 751-C meeting describing her plans:

The Guide Dogs of America was founded more than 60 years ago by the International Association of Machinists after a member was denied acceptance by existing guide dog schools due to his advanced age — he was only 57. Since then, GDA has graduated more than 3,000 teams thanks to the camaraderie, compassion, and generosity of the IAM and its members.

This AFL-CIO-produced video explains the difference this incredible organization makes in people’s lives.


Please click here to make your own tax-deductible contribution to support Tania Finlayson’s 300-mile ride for the Guide Dogs of America. This organization receives no government money and relies solely on the contributions of individuals like you.

It costs $42,000 or more — which includes the cost of training the dog and providing instruction for the guide dog user — in order to provide a guide dog for a visually impaired person. But you can’t put a price on the difference it makes in people’s lives.

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