PUPPIES will take over Grafton Shoppingworld tomorrow to help former Mid-north Coast resident Jenny Croaker climb Mt Kilimanjaro in November, and raise $30,000 for Guide Dogs NSW/ACT.
Ms Croaker, an orientation and mobility instructor with Guide Dogs NSW/ACT, worked extensively across the Clarence Valley helping people with impaired vision, when she was based at the organisation's Coffs Harbour office.
Now based in Armidale, she is preparing to climb Africa's highest peak with friend Deb Warren, who is completely blind and uses a guide dog called Meg to get around.
"The Clarence Valley is a special place for me and I still work with some people in this area who have impaired vision, including Sister Elizabeth Jabour, who is a wonderful role model and has been proactively fundraising on our behalf in the area already," said Ms Croaker.
"So our fundraising stall in Grafton is a way of raising awareness of what we are doing and to thank Elizabeth and the Clarence Valley community for their support."
A highlight of the pair's Grafton fundraising stall, from 9.30am to 1.30pm tomorrow, will be some puppies provided by local breeder Nerrida Scott of Rosebird Kennels who has supplied puppies to Guide Dogs NSW/ACT.
"We are selling toy pups, Labrador-branded merchandise, plus final tickets for Elizabeth's raffle which includes prizes of a gourmet hamper, underwater camera and an original artwork," said Jenny.
For those who can't attend the stall, the girls have created an online auction site http://auction4guidedogs.wordpress.com/ to make it easier for people to support their challenge from the comfort of their homes. Jenny is happy to take bids on her mobile, call 0429 309 379.
Interested people can bid until midnight Sunday, November 11 on more than 30 items, including original artworks, music, movie, sporting and historical memorabilia, signed books and DVD, and a unique 16 carat smokey quartz faceted in the yin yang shape.
The stone was found on Ms Coaker's parent's property at Guyra and cut by a family friend.
For Ms Warren and Ms Croaker, the Kilimanjaro trek from November 25 to December 6 is as much a personal challenge as it is an opportunity to give back to Guide Dogs NSW/ACT so it can continue assisting people with vision loss to be independent.
Guide Dogs NSW/ACT relies on the public's generosity to provide its services free of charge.
Services are tailored to suit people with different levels of vision impairment, including training in how to use guide dogs, long canes, electronic travel aids and their remaining vision to be able to get around safely, confidently and independently.
For more information about their mountainous challenge, visit www.everydayhero.com.au/event/GuideDogsNSWACTKiliTrek2012/community or call 0429 309 379.