Stuart Pearce - My guide, back on the road to independence

Stuart And Richard Having Coffee

Reading-based, former HGV driver, Stuart Pearce, is now firmly back on the road to independence thanks to Guide Dogs and My Guide.

Stuart began to lose his sight in May 2014 as a result of diabetic retinopathy and, no longer able to drive he lost his job, income and independence.

“Three laser operations didn’t work, my sight got worse and worse. I was registered sight impaired / partially sighted in January 2015 and at that point I was absolutely devastated and scared. I’d completely lost my independence. However, The My Guide Service has greatly helped me overcome these emotions.”

Stuart describes his vision as like wearing dark glasses all the time. “Everything is grey, there’s no colour and so it is difficult to detect kerbs, steps, slopes and so on.”

Luckily for Stuart, Sarah, the Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (ECLO) at The Royal Berkshire Hospital referred him to Guide Dogs’ My Guide Service.

Stuart Being Guided By RichardStuart was matched with Richard, a sighted guide volunteer in March 2015 and initially they worked together to rebuild Stuart’s confidence in getting out and about. Meeting once a week, Stuart explains that he has gained so much more: “Having Richard walking with me gives me reassurance that I am safe and I won’t walk into anything.  He is always happy to help me work out how I’d get to certain places, for example college in Basingstoke, where I am shortly going to start a counselling course.  Without The My Guide Service I don’t know where I’d be. I certainly wouldn’t have been about to start at college less than a year after losing my sight.

“On bad days I have the confidence to go out, whereas before I wouldn’t have bothered. My independence is also increasing; I travel on buses on my own, again, something I wouldn’t have thought possible back when I first lost my sight.

“My Guide is a flexible service. I strongly recommend it to anyone with sight loss that doesn’t feel confident in getting out and about to seriously consider it.”

It doesn’t end there, thanks to Berkshire Vision (a local charity for people living with sight loss in Berkshire) Stuart is more active than ever. Today, he enjoys playing cricket and swimming on a regular basis. He is also now volunteering for Guide Dogs to help manage the My Guide waiting list.

Find out more about My Guide and other Guide Dogs services at: www.GuideDogs.org.uk/services or call: 0345 1430224. Please note calls to this number will cost 3p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.



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