For the past 12 months, staff at Melba Support Services in Lilydale have been fundraising for a second bus to transport clients to local community events.
On Monday at Healesville they got $500 closer to achieving their dream when Raid The Planets, a greyhound they are paired with in the 2014 TAB Great Chase, won a heat of the series.
The TAB Great Chase is an annual event run by Greyhound Racing Victoria that is open to community groups that care for the intellectually or physically disabled. Each of GRV’s tracks hold heats that welcome local community groups to attend, where they are paired with a locally-trained greyhound that runs on their behalf throughout the series.
Victoria’s disability sector has shared in more than $300,000 through the TAB Great Chase over the past decade, with at least another $40,000 to be distributed during the 2014 series.
Raid The Planets will now head to the TAB Great Chase semi-finals at Warragul this Monday, where a win would secure Melba Support Services a further $1,000 and a place in the Grand Final at The Meadows on 3 September, where the organisation paired with the winner will win $5,000.
“We have spent the past 12 months raising money for a second bus. We have one bus but that is predominantly used to transport our clients to medical appointments,” said Michelle Wood, a carer at Melba Support Services.
“We would really like a second bus to transport our clients to various events in the community, like this event. We had to catch a taxi here today, which isn’t ideal.”
“We have saved just over $8,500 so far, but we really need to double that amount.”
Raid The Planets, who is trained by Steve Daniluik, has had 12 starts for five wins and two placings, and should he go on to win the TAB Great Chase, Melba Support Services will be well within reach of their second bus.
*Melba Support Services is a not-for-profit, community based organisation that supports people who live with a disability to lead everyday lives of their choice.