News

Jason is a guiding light

Jason Blake gets an Australia flag from Luke Hartsuyker.
Jason Blake gets an Australia flag from Luke Hartsuyker. Bruce Thomas

JASON Bake’s sight is diminishing but his sense of adventure has never been stronger.

For as long as he can remember, the Crossmaglen dairy farmer has dreamed of walking the Kokoda Track. About 15 years ago, Mr Bake was diagnosed with a genetic eye condition, retinitis pigmentosa, that leads to incurable blindness. He now has seven per cent vision.

Refusing to let his waning vision hinder him, Mr Bake is taking up the colossal challenge for a cause that is close to his heart – Guide Dogs NSW/ACT.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for the military aspect, the mental and physical challenge and the desire to give back and grow confidence along the way,” Mr Bake said.

“We’ve been training since October by doing hit outs for hours on the mountains around Crossmaglen.

“I just got back from a 16km trek on steep stretches and with 10 days to go I’m feeling good.”

Surrounded by family members and supported by guides, Mr Bake and another blind Australian walker, Steve Widders, will tackle the Kokoda Track on June 3 as part of the Kokoda: Blind Courage Team.

Mr Bake said he has some (limited) central vision and his sighted guide will wear a fluorescent sock protector which will work as a flag in his field of view during the 10-day trek.

He wants to highlight that having a vision impairment should not stop anyone from achieving their goals and is pleased to give back to Guide Dogs NSW/ACT.

“Only 10% of their work involves guide dogs and they have supported me with mobility training using canes and an electronic device called a ‘mini-guide’ which signals if there’s an obstacle’s in my path.”

Last week Federal MP Luke Hartsuyker recognised Mr Bake as an inspiration and presented him with an Australian flag to carry on his walk.

“The 96km trek is a huge challenge but to complete the walk when you are vision impaired is an inspiration,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“Jason is a shining example of someone who has not allowed a disability to prevent him living a productive life and achieving his goals.”

Mr Bake is hoping to raise $30,000 for Guide Dogs NSW/ACT.

To donate go to www.blindcourage.net

Topics:  kokoda track



Hook the crooks and heed the police warnings

Hook the Crooks is a summer campaign against break and enter crimes in our community, involving Coffs Clarence Police and The Coffs Coast Advocate.

Police warn a quarter of Coffs break-ins happen around Christmas

Did someone ask where are all the Christmas lights?

If you have gone to the trouble of setting up a Christmas scape in your yard tell the world via the Map My Lights smart phone app.

This app is where you can track the Christmas lights of Coffs Coast.

Water usage rises under restrictions

Parts of the usually strong flowing Bellinger River have dropped to puddles, prompting the council to introduce level 3 water restrictions to town water supplies.

Water use rises in Bellingen with level 3 water restrictions

Local Partners

Relief for storm affected farmers

NSW Government's announces it will provide Agriculture Natural Disaster Relief following wild storms in early August.


Man builds playground entirely out of packing tape

Artist Eric Lennartson is in the process of completing his huge tape sculpture at the Ipswich Art Gallery.

VIDEO:And here's where you can play on it.

Countdown to Woodford Folk Festival begins

ECONOMIC BOON: Woodford Folk Festival is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.  Photo Contributed

The first larger-than-life inhabitants have stepped into Woodfordia

'I need to do what I can': 65km walk for cancer patient

Karlee Robinson is walking from Caloundra to Noosa for her cousin Aaron Parker, who has terminal brain cancer.

What do you do when someone you love has terminal brain cancer?

Hacksaw Ridge wins big in first round of AACTA Awards

Luke Bracey and Andrew Garfield in a scene from the movie Hacksaw Ridge.

THE major awards will be handed out on Wednesday night.

Paris Hilton fumes at clumsy partygoers

A reveller spilt their drink on Paris Hilton's DJ decks

Winnie Harlow isn't a role model

Winnie Harlow insists she isn't a role model.

Felicity Jones proud of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story role

Felicity Jones feels it is "important" for a woman to head Rogue One

Kiwi's plea to Ellen DeGeneres to save bakery after quake

Ellen... we need your magic.

Family had to be helicoptered out after powerful quake

Seacrest: Things are "going better" for Kim and Kanye

Ryan Seacrest says things are "going better now" for Kanye West

Developer's grand new multi-million dollar estate

NEW ESTATE: This is the only plan revealed by the property developer's new Billabongs Estate in Agnes Water.

DEVELOPER given the go ahead for a massive estate with 149 homes.

Banks reclaim Gladstone homes as job losses bite

LONG FALL: Property experts Heron Todd say, based on key market indicators, Gladstone is still travelling to the bottom of the market, with property prices set to get cheaper.

Property valuers say Gladstone housing market hasn't hit the bottom

The million dollar property to test Mackay's market

This Victoria St building will go to auction Tuesday and investors will be watching closely to see how much it sells for.

'High profile architect designed CBD asset' goes to auction

Chinese locked out of Australian property market

The rules are different if you're a foreigner

The buyer was from China - the trouble started right there

Morrison signs off on new affordable rental model

Australia's Treasurer Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference after a meeting of the Council of Federal Financial Relations at Parliament House in Canberra, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016.

Scott Morrison signed off on development of a new financing model

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!