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February 26, 2003

Marathon effort ahead for Jacky

From: Forres Gazette, UK - 26 Feb 2003

THERE are easier ways of raising money for charity than running a marathon, but that hasn?t put Forres Academy teacher Jacky Houseman off.
Jacky (32), who teaches biology and science at the academy, is running in the London Marathon on April 13 in aid of Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. And she has very strong reasons for doing it.
?My mother, Marjorie Houseman, has a hearing dog called Dollar. He?s a cross between a duck-tolling retriever and a Cocker spaniel and he?s in training at the moment and on placement with my mother.
?Once he completes the training he is assessed, and if he passes he will become a fully-fledged hearing dog.?
Mrs Houseman?s last hearing dog, Barnaby, died last year.
It will be Jacky?s first marathon, and she is already training hard for the race.
?I?m pretty fit already, mainly through swimming and salsa dancing, but I?m not really a runner,? she said.
?However, I?ve been running twice a week, with an additional long run at weekends. I really need to be doing about two hours at a time, but I?m still building up to that. I put my expected time down as four hours, but it could take longer than that.?
Jacky will be competing in the London Marathon as part of a 17-strong band of runners entered by the charity.
?I didn?t get through the general ballot for the run,? said Jacky, ?but Hearing Dogs for the Deaf have a group called ?Gold Bond? running, and I managed to get a place with them. I have to raise a minimum of £1500 in sponsorship before I can take part.?
Hearing dogs, which wear bright burgundy jackets when out and about, respond to everyday sounds like the doorbell, cooker timer or telephone and alert their owners by touching them and leading them to the source of the sound. They respond to danger sounds, like smoke or burglar alarms by touching their owner then lying down in a special ?alert? signal. They are chosen for their friendliness and sociability, and help break down the barriers and isolation that many deaf people face.
Hearing Dogs for Deaf People is the only organisation of its kind in the UK, and its work is made possible by the support of companies, the public and volunteers.
The work falls into three main areas ? selecting and training young dogs, which are often from rescue centres; matching hearing dogs to deaf and hard of hearing recipients; maintaining regular contact with the recipients and re-homing dogs which don?t make it.
A figure of £5000 will sponsor a hearing dog from selection to retirement, and it takes about a year to fully train it through puppy socialising, special training and partnership with the deaf recipient to its final assessment and ?graduation?.
Different levels of sponsorship can help pay for various steps in the hearing dog?s training ? 50p helps feed a puppy-in-training for a day; £5 helps feed a hearing dog for a week; £10 helps pay for bedding; £100 helps pay for veterinary care; £250 helps pay for assessing and selecting a dog for training.
Jacky is hoping to persuade local people to support her marathon effort, and this can be done in various ways.
?You can sponsor on-line,? said Jacky, ?by going to the website www.justgiving/jackyhouseman
?The money pledged in that way goes straight to Hearing Dogs for the Deaf and is gift-aided, which means that for every pound pledged, the charity gets a further 28 pence.
?There is a sponsor form in Pat McKenzie?s Cafe Bar or in the ?Gazette? office, and sponsor forms are also available in St Laurence Church.?
In the meantime, if you see Jacky pounding the streets, don?t get in her way... she?s on a mission!

© Scottish Provincial Press 2001