Riding to help blind Thai kids

VISION-impaired Border cyclists are raising funds for sightless Thai children.

On tandem bikes piloted by sighted partners, four of the cyclists will brave the 32 kilometre uphill ride between Mount Beauty and Falls Creek on Saturday.

The Blind Challenge aims to raise $20,000 for the Mae Sot Blind centre, run by vision-impaired Thai woman Bunsiri “Boon” Phuengkaew.

Boon grew up, like many blind Thai children, left alone in a hut each day as her parents worked because they had no support.

She set up the centre so other children like her wouldn’t have to go through the same experience.

Barry Smerdon, who has been legally blind for 36 years, first learnt of Boon when his wife met the 16-year-old orphan 10 years ago.

“We have all the technology here with Vision Australia and the Guide Dogs, but they don’t have that luxury,” he said.

“(The challenge) gives sight impaired people like myself the opportunity to give back.”

Organiser, Tabletop farmer David Parkinson, is not blind but met Boon with his wife four years ago, taking her on her first tandem bike ride on a visit to Australia.

To take part visit theblindchallenge.org or to donate go to gofundme.com/6w9ng8.

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