Fish Walks the Dog (to Melbourne!)
MAN AND DOG ON A MISSION - Helping kids with chronic diseases in resource poor countries and raising awareness of Diabetes here in Australia!
Meet Fish: devoted biker and God’s Squad member and father of seven. Fish was never one to give much thought to diet or exercise until diagnosed with Type Two Diabetes some years ago. Even then he didn’t take it seriously. But for the last year and a half Fish has been making a big effort to get his condition under control and the big secret of his success has been long walks with his dog, five-year-old Zeke.
Now Fish and German Shepherd Zeke are setting off on an 873km journey from Sydney to Melbourne to raise awareness and funds for the small Australian organisation CLAN. CLAN (Caring and Living As Neighbours) is an Australian-based, not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation dedicated to the dream that all children living with chronic health conditions in resource-poor countries of the world will enjoy a quality of life on par with that of their neighbours in wealthier countries.
If you would like to sponsor Fish and the Dog as they walk to Melbourne, please donate here through CLAN's PayPal account or visit CLAN's GoFundraise page and leave him a message as well as a donation!
What is CLAN?
CLAN was founded by a group of parents and health professionals who knew first-hand what it took for children with chronic health conditions to enjoy happy, healthy and fulfilling lives, and were committed to working hard to make sure that their neighbours' children in resource-poor countries might one day enjoy a quality of life on par with that of children in Australia. We are blessed with access to the sort of health care and pharmaceuticals in Australian that mean children with chronic health conditions like diabetes, cancer, asthma, heart disease, autism, epilepsy and countless others can actually go on and enjoy happy, healthy fulfilling lives. Sadly, the same cannot be said for children in poorer countries of our region, where child death and disability associated with even the most common and easily treated long-term health conditions remain unacceptably high.
What is Fish helping CLAN raise money for?
CLAN is committed to long-term, sustainable solutions, and believes the only way to achieve this is through collaborative, multi-sectoral efforts to effect change for children. Partnerships with like-minded organisations, compassionate business leaders and philanthropists are essential and when we unite people who are living with the same chronic health conditions around the world, families in rich and poor nations can come together, and work in partnership to effect change.
In 2011 CLAN will be running family support groups for children who are living with Diabetes, Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia and Nephrotic Syndrome (a Chronic Kidney Disease) in Vietnam at the three largest children's hospitals in the country. We expect over 1,000 children to attend (with their families!) to learn more about their particular diseases, listen to experts give the latest updates, receive educational resources and just relax and meet other families who are struggling with exactly the same issues day in and day out as them. We will use any money that is left over from running these Clubs to continue to support the translation of educational resources for families into Vietnamese language, to help families and staff alike improve health outcomes.
Who is Fish and WHY is he doing this?
Fish has been a friend and supporter of CLAN for several years. Due to his own condition of Type Two Diabetes he feels the need to help raise awareness of children suffering from chronic diseases in resource–poor countries where access to affordable insulin and health care is beyond the means of most families. After being diagnosed with diabetes more than 5 years ago Fish states, “I’ve only taken the past year and a half seriously with getting my blood sugar down low, this is mainly due to walking everyday with my dog Zeke”. Now Fish and Zeke are going to take part in an extraordinary mission on the 1st of May in a 873km walk from Sydney to Melbourne.
It is vital that we all strive for this cause, because the children and families themselves are virtually powerless to effect change without the help of their neighbours, friends and concerned global citizens, like Fish.
Can we really make a difference?
CLAN’s founder, Dr Kate Armstrong says Fish and Zeke’s epic walk is an exciting example of everyday Australians caring about their neighbours' children in a practical way. Their generous action ties in with CLAN’s current efforts to raise awareness of children who are living with diabetes and other non-communicable (chronic) diseases in United Nations forums. “It links in really nicely with work we are doing ahead of the UN Summit on Diabetes and other Non-Communicable Diseases in NYC in Sept this year,” says Armstrong. “CLAN is heading efforts to raise awareness of the plight of children at this forum in September and there is a genuine opportunity to help low and middle-income nations develop strategic and sustainable approaches to protecting the health of their most vulnerable citizens... children with chronic health conditions."
“Almost weekly new developments and events promote new interest in our work and the chance to explore new partnerships. This means that more can be achieved for children living with chronic health conditions in resource-poor countries,” she says. “Traditionally these children and families have suffered in silence - for too long they have had no voice. CLAN is committed to bringing the voices of these children and families to the attention of the world”.
“CLAN will be partnering with as many interested stakeholders as we can, and embracing the power of social media networks to Tweet our messages from the highest twee-tops on the one hand to raise awareness at a UN level, but perhaps even more importantly, we will be maintaining our grassroots focus at the same time. Communities of children will always be the focus of our efforts: our neighbours' children deserve happy, healthy and fulfilling lives, and we know from experience that just small, inexpensive actions can have a profound impact on the lives of chidlren who are living with chronic health conditions and disability in resource poor countries.”