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Private Liam Haven’s intention to walk 500km+ from Sydney to Canberra later this year has sparked an outpouring of generosity from the St Bernard’s Football Club and surrounding Essendon community.
Liam lost his sight whilst serving with the Australian Army in Iraq in 2008, and plans to use the demanding September walk as a fundraiser for Guide Dogs Victoria and Solider On (a charity that helps wounded soldiers get back on their feet), for whom he hopes to raise $1-million. His faithful Guide Dog Omen will join him for an average 6-8 km per day in a journey expected to take just under a fortnight. 
Liam’s sight was lost after an Improvised Explosive Device exploded while he was on a routine patrol. Liam lost sight in his left eye and now only has two per cent sight in his right eye. Guide Dogs Victoria matched Omen with Liam some two years ago, and the two have been inseparable ever since, with Omen accompanying Liam to Swinburne University, where he is currently studying Psychology and Community Services.
St Bernard’s Football Club President Mr Patrick Crabb was moved and inspired by Liam’s story and his epic undertaking, and has planned a major local fundraiser for Liam and Omen. 
“St Bernards FC aims to develop our young men as both footballers and positive members of the community. Liam’s story shows in a very inspirational way how a young man who is knocked down badly, can get up to overcome the odds, and go on to make a tremendous contribution to the community,” said Mr Crabb. 
The club will collect donations for Liam at lunch, on his ceremonial halftime lap of the oval and at the post game event.  The club will also donate part of the funds raised through two club raffles conducted on the day.  St Bernards has organised for the game to be called by a sports commentator over the PA system, so that Liam can appreciate every moment of the match.
Liam is overwhelmed by the support St Bernard’s Football Club has shown. 
“It was my hope that through the act of one wounded soldier and his Guide Dog, it would give the community inspiration to rise up and support organisations such as Guide Dogs Victoria and Soldier On. To see this already starting to happen before I even commence the walk is humbling and affirms to me just how generous the community is,” Liam said. 
To support Liam and Omen in raising funds for Guide Dogs Victoria and Soldier On, please visit and enter Liam Haven in the search
For those wanting to attend the lunch please contact St Bernard’s Football Club.