Blind New Jersey man wins 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 puts passion behind his goal to keep it going.

Ian Fleming is blind but is taking on his first Ironman challenge in a bid to give back to an organization he says helped save his life.

Persistence 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 about raising awareness and much-needed funding for Seeing Eye, which is an organization that breeds puppies, breeds 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 daily challenges, but especially this Ironman challenge.

“I call him Milo the Incredible. He’s saved my life many times. He’s truly amazing. You’ll have to see how he stops for traffic, he stops for downhill curves, sometimes overhanging trees,” Fleming said.

With Milo and her fiancé by her side, Fleming spun the wheels of her bike trainer for more than 100 miles, urging people to give back to Seeing Eye.

He says it costs over $100,000 for a trained guide dog. Fleming says he spent many years depending on others for help and vision advice after suddenly losing his sight at a very young age due to a genetic condition called retinitis pigmentosa.

He says having Milo changed his life because it gave him a sense of independence. Fleming says once he finishes Ironman, his next adventure will take him on a 150-mile run to continue raising funds for Seeing Eye.

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