Guide Dogs Week 2015
Naomi's New Life
Donating even a small amount of your time this Guide Dogs Week will help make a huge difference to people like Naomi Ditchfield. From being scared to leave the house alone, Naomi now leads an incredibly full life – all thanks, she says, to her guide dog Dixie.
Naomi has always had a vision impairment but when getting around on her own became increasingly difficult, she decided it was time to take action. “For years I had this tiny bit of hope that one day I might get my sight back,” says Naomi, “but then it came to the point where I thought, ‘do you know what? I can’t do this any more’.” Naomi decided to apply for a guide dog and, in due course, was matched with Dixie, who turned out to be her perfect partner. “She’s brilliant,” says Naomi. “I’m so made up I want to tell everyone how good it is having a guide dog. I wish I’d done it years ago.”
Life has changed dramatically for Naomi. From being frightened to go out on her own and leading a very restricted social life, she now thinks nothing of travelling to conferences in Newcastle, concerts in Blackpool and visiting friends in London. “I’d never have dreamed of doing all that before,” she smiles. “Now my kids say I’m never in!”
Toby is my fur-covered guardian angel!
Your Guide Dogs Week donation will help transform the lives of people like Sue Collis. For Sue, having a guide dog doesn’t just mean freedom and independence. It means being the mum she wants to be to 11-year-old Anya.
Little Anya was just two when her mum Sue suffered a sudden brain haemorrhage, causing permanent sight loss. Over the next few years, Sue’s sight deteriorated and she became very depressed. “I lost all confidence,” Sue explains. “I didn’t want to leave the house on my own and taking my daughter to school on the bus was very scary. I was very sad and isolated.”
As taking Anya to school became more and more stressful, Sue realised she needed to take action. Training with a long cane helped but didn’t give her the independence she craved, so she applied for a guide dog. She was delighted to get a phone call a few months later saying that Toby, a yellow labrador, was a possible match.
When Sue met Toby, she instantly fell in love. “It was the best day of my life,” she says, “apart from giving birth to Anya. Going out for the first time with Toby, I felt confident and proud. It was absolutely amazing.” Best of all, says Sue, taking Anya to school was no longer a struggle. “Having Toby by my side gives me the confidence to be a wife and mum again and take on the world.”
Susan will be leading our Let's Glow Collections in Middlesborough on 10 and 11 October from 11am-3pm.
Craig and Commando
Craig Blackbird is totally blind and in his thirties, and recently graduated with a first class honours degree – an achievement he says was all down to his partnership with Commando, his guide dog. “Commando means everything to me,” says Craig. “He gives me independence, freedom and hope – as a team we’re always ready to embark on new adventures.”
The pair’s latest challenge is to take on Guide Dogs Week together this October. You will soon be able to read Craig’s special Guide Dogs Week blog to find out how they get on and how you can get involved too.
Craig will be asking you to take on a sensory challenge at the Newcastle Mobility Team Office on 10 October from 11am-3pm.
Guide Dogs Week
Every hour another person in the UK goes blind. We need your help to make sure that when someone loses their sight they don't lose their freedom as well.
This year from 3-11 October people across the UK were glowing for Guide Dogs to help us change more lives and create more partnerships like Sue and Toby.
Stand Out for
A massive thank you to everyone that joined us in glowing this Guide Dogs Week. Don’t forget to share your photos with us on Facebook and Twitter using #LetsGlow and pay in any donations you’ve received from your fabulous fundraising efforts. Find out how to pay in your fundraising.