Award-winning residential builder Generation Homes was delighted to support a visually impaired Hamilton couple to achieve their dream of competing in the Auckland Half Marathon.
The opportunity to provide sponsorship to Craig and Ocean was presented to the Generation Homes Hamilton team by The Waterboy, a Waikato-based charity dedicated to breaking down barriers preventing New Zealanders from participating in sport.
Image: (from left to right) Ocean, Murray Wallace, Craig Armstrong and The Waterboy founder Thomas Nabbs.
Craig and Ocean are severely visually impaired, making it extremely difficult for them to secure work. While they could easily dwell on this limitation, they instead choose to focus on what they do have – a beautiful guide dog names Jay Jay and a loving relationship in which they challenge each other every day to achieve tasks many take for granted.
Although they can’t participate in many of the sports they would like to do, Craig and Ocean are heavily involved in the local community and regularly support fundraising initiatives for Blind Foundation Guide Dogs.
The Waterboy founder Thomas Nabbs said Craig and Ocean were inspired by the efforts of one of their mentors Shannon Cleave at the Blind Foundation, who had lost more than 60kg in her mission to live a happier and healthier life.
“Being visually impaired it could be very easy to develop a negative attitude,” Thomas said.
“Shannon is a true advocate for taking life by the hands, and she encouraged Craig and Ocean to get a gym membership and start cross training. One of the biggest issues Craig and Ocean faced is that they required a personal trainer to show them how to use the equipment and support them during their workouts but they couldn’t afford the cost.”
Craig and Ocean set their first goal of competing in the Auckland Half Marathon, while The Waterboy’s team worked behind the scenes to find a major local sponsor.
Generation Homes Hamilton’s sponsorship was used to fund Craig and Ocean’s gym membership fees, allowing them to get an individualised programme with a qualified personal trainer and providing access to the gym’s pool.
Alana Savage, Generation Homes Regional Director, was touched by Craig and Ocean’s aspirations to live healthy, active lives.
“They are two determined people who want to help themselves, and we wanted to see them achieve their goals,” she said.
Craig and Ocean completed the Auckland Half Marathon on October 29 with Alana’s husband Murray Wallace and Thomas running alongside them in support. Alana drove The Waterboy’s camera crew around the course to capture footage of the couple’s first major sporting achievement.
“We were actively involved in their journey and were by their side as they crossed the finish line,” Alana said.
“We got to know Craig and Ocean on a personal level, which made this a much more intimate sponsorship that we’re very proud to be a part of.”
Craig and Ocean have now set a new physical and financial goal of traveling to complete the New York Marathon in 2019. They also want to compete in other marathon events throughout New Zealand.
Generation Homes is committed to supporting Craig and Ocean in their future sporting endeavours.
“Our Generation For Life plans are specifically designed to support people with disabilities and mobility requirements. We offer homes that include universal design features such as larger hallways and doorways to support happy and comfortable living,” Alana said.
“As a company we don’t just build homes, we help build communities, and we believe a big part of that is about developing ongoing relationships with organisations like The Waterboy to help people in our region achieve their goals.”
As ardent fans of the Chiefs, Generation Homes Hamilton also gifted Craig and Ocean two training jerseys. Generation Homes has been a major sponsor of the Chiefs since 2014.
ABOUT THE WATERBOY
The Waterboy seeks to create initiatives to increase participation in sport by breaking down barriers. Barriers to participation in sports can include disability, age, sexual orientation, logistics, gender, ethnicity and financial or socio economic issues. These barriers may be real or perceived, external or self-imposed.
No matter the barrier, The Waterboy aims to help as many New Zealanders seek the benefits of participating in sport and create stronger more connected communities.
Sport has a major role to play in developing and maintaining a healthy body, mind, and soul. Benefits include opportunities for personal and social development, increased confidence and better health. Sport can also help people develop goals or give them a purpose in life, as well as instilling a sense of pride and belonging.
The Waterboy was established in 2015, and currently supports more than 30 individuals in the Waikato region. The charity also holds a speaker series in local schools featuring local and national sporting heroes to tackle the issue of homophobia in sport head on.
The Waterboy does not receive any centralised government funding and relies on the donations of generous local businesses to provide pathways into sport for those in need.
For more information, go to: https://www.thewaterboy.org.nz/