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Blind New Jersey man conquers Ironman competition for organization that helped save his life

By Alyana Gomez

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    WEST DEPTFORD, New Jersey (WPVI) — A South Jersey man is putting some passion behind his goal to pay it forward.

Ian Fleming is blind, yet he’s conquering his first Ironman challenge all in an effort to give back to an organization that he says has helped save his life.

Perseverance is key for Fleming. He spent the day swimming nearly 2.5 miles in a pool, cycling 112 miles on a stationary bike and running 26 miles on a treadmill. It’s all to raise awareness and some much-needed funding for Seeing Eye, which is an organization that breeds puppies, raises them and then trains the dogs to guide blind people.

Fleming considers himself lucky to have his Seeing Eye dog, Milo, guiding him through life’s everyday challenges, but especially this Ironman challenge.

“I call him Milo the amazing. He has saved my life a couple of times. He truly is amazing. You’ll have to see how he stops for traffic, he stops for down-curves, overhanging trees sometimes,” said Fleming.

With Milo and his fiancé by his side, Fleming kept the wheels turning on his bike trainer for more than 100 miles, urging people to please give back to Seeing Eye.

He says it costs more than $100,000 for a trained guide dog. Fleming says he spent many years depending on others for help and visual guidance after he suddenly lost his sight at a very young age to a genetic disease called retinitis pigmentosa.

He says having Milo has been life-changing because it has given him a sense of independence. Fleming says once he’s completed the Ironman, his next adventure will take him on a 150-mile run to continue raising money for Seeing Eye.

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