We have continued our commitment to helping local charitable causes by raising money for Helpful Hounds through the latest virtual race. We challenged participants of all ages and abilities to run as many miles as they could during April 2019. The Dorset Invader Virtual Race saw almost 200 people take part to earn a unique and bespoke medal to celebrate their achievements, with runners completing a total personal mileage of between 5 miles up to an amazing 302 miles.

All proceeds from entries to this virtual race have been donated to Helpful Hounds Assistance Dogs, an assistance dogs charity based in Bournemouth, covering Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire. It is dedicated to training assistance dogs for children and teenagers who are disabled, are Autistic or have Down’s Syndrome.

We were inspired to help raise money for this charity on behalf of the Bailey family, whose lives have been completely transformed since the arrival of Whisper, an assistance dog for Phoebe who has autism and epilepsy.

Whisper, or Whizzy as she is affectionately known, became part of the Bailey family in May 2018. Phoebe’s mum, Kim, says that the impact on the family has been enormous: “As a family we can attempt many things we just wouldn’t have before. Phoebe struggles with noise, people, busy places, smells, lights, talking… Phoebe’s anxiety levels are always high just coping with day-to-day things like eating, dressing, following instructions, school and transitions. To then ask her to add more to her load, even if it’s something she will ultimately enjoy, adds another level of fear and worry. She also has multiple seizures each day.

“Whisper provides calm and focus for Phoebe. When we are out and about, Phoebe focuses on Whisper, giving her directions, chatting with her. In a busy situation, Whisper is the difference between Phoebe being able to regulate and cope with the excess of sensory stimulation she is bombarded with or going into meltdown, which is physically and mentally distressing for both her and us.”

White Star Running was proud to present Helpful Hounds with a cheque for £600 at its New Dorset Invader running weekend, held in Pilsdon near Bridport on 25th-27th May 2019.

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