Tomo’s in training for Centacare

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Instrument in hand, 79 year-old Tomo Yukovich has begun training to raise funds for Centacare. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
Instrument in hand, 79 year-old Tomo Yukovich has begun training to raise funds for Centacare. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks … just don’t tell Tomo Vukovich.

The 79-year-old is not only training for the first time but also getting sponsored for his new fitness regime, and raising money online for his favourite agency Centacare.

The retired builder, who suffers chronic kidney disease, is taking part in the Move for Your Mates campaign, an annual fundraising event for the Catholic agency, which provides services to people with a disability.

“It really does make me happy knowing I am helping people with a disability, as well as getting mobile.”

Tomo, himself a CatholicCare client, has his Homecare package managed by them and has been helped to stay in his home for as long as possible while accessing services including an occupational therapist, physiotherapist, podiatrist as well as a carer who visits weekly and helps with work around his home.

Officially the oldest fundraiser of the campaign, he has spent countless hours throughout October lifting weights, stretching, doing yoga, walking and even dancing, while his exercise videos accompanying his fundraising efforts have become an online sensation.

Scythe in hand, Tomo shows the way anyone can get behind fundraising for Centacare’s drive to provide services and support for those with disability. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
Scythe in hand, Tomo shows the way anyone can get behind fundraising for Centacare’s drive to provide services and support for those with disability. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

Tomo decided to get moving and raise money to show you’re never too old to get active and help others at the same time.

He said despite his limited mobility, he has almost raised his target of $2000, much of it donated by anonymous people inspired by his efforts.

“I can’t do much, but what I can do while only small, is making a big difference,” he said.

“It really does make me happy knowing I am helping people with a disability, as well as getting mobile.

“Ten years ago I wouldn’t have believed I would be exercising every day and people paying for me to do it.

“To be honest I get a lot of strength from my faith, it gives me hope. I am a Croatian Catholic and we have always had a special Marian devotion which has given my life direction.

“I was adopted after my parents died of typhoid when I was just two and it has been my faith that has always been my source of strength.”

“We are so excited to have some incredible fundraisers involved in the Move for Your Mates campaign this year, like Tomo.”

The money raised by Tomo will go towards much needed renovations to the Centacare facilities at Belmore which is utilized by those with a disability.

Improvements to the centre include converting the warehouse into training rooms, updating the worn-out kitchen and breakout room, re-painting, rewiring and installing new plumbing.

Tomo shows the way anyone can get behind fundraising for Centacare’s drive to provide services and support for those with disability. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
Tomo shows the way anyone can get behind fundraising for Centacare’s drive to provide services and support for those with disability. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

General Manager Community Engagement, Jonathan Melrose-Rae, said support from people like Tomo shows anybody can do something to help.

He said he was such an inspiration and such a good advertisement for moving at all stages of life.

“We are so excited to have some incredible fundraisers involved in the Move for Your Mates campaign this year, like Tomo,” he said.

“To be honest I get a lot of strength from my faith, it gives me hope. I am a Croatian Catholic and we have always had a special Marian devotion which has given my life direction.”

“Tomo is proof that you’re never too old do to something for someone else!

“Over the last two years the participants of Centacare who have a disability have been through a lot.

“Centacare is working to modify its facilities to suit the changing needs of people with a disability to provide the best possible services, but it needs support from our caring community to do so. “

If you’d like to support Tomo in his fundraising efforts for CatholicCare go to https://fundraise.catholiccare.org/fundraisers/tomo/move-for-your-mates