Liam is now living the independent life he’d always dreamed of

Thurs 14 Aug 127Am

Liam, his guide dog Irwin with friends

This is the moment 19-year-old Liam takes another thrilling step towards a truly independent life. Growing up with serious sight problems, he spent most of his childhood alone in his room with only the TV for company. Liam could never have imagined that one day he’d be confident enough to travel all across the country by himself to meet up with his friends.

It was guide dog Irwin that changed everything for Liam. They were matched when Liam was 16, and straight away Irwin was helping him get around more easily. Three years on, Liam is living in halls at his new college in Hereford, has a large group of friends and is looking forward to getting a job in IT after he graduates.

Before Irwin came along, Liam had to rely on his parents to take him where he needed to go. Now he can make his own decisions about his life and his future. Spending a few days away with his friends is just one of the ways he’s enjoying his new-found independence.

Today, he’s getting the train from Barnsley to Cardiff, a journey he wouldn’t have even contemplated before Irwin arrived. “Using public transport is a lot easier with a guide dog”, Liam says. “He’s helped give me confidence and to be more active. It’s the best feeling knowing I can go out and do stuff on my own.”

As well as being able to socialise like any other teenager, Liam has also been on two activity holidays with Irwin, and enjoys going to the cinema too. “When you’re my age, you want to do stuff with your friends. It’s exciting! Irwin has enabled me to explore the world and be a normal 19-year-old lad.”

Guide Dogs is changing lives every day. You can learn more about the full range of services we offer to help people who are blind or partially sighted get where they want to go in life.


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