Anica’s fundraising for Walk Your Socks Off

Anica, from Surrey, is a dedicated Guide Dogs volunteer who usually takes part in lots of fundraising events and campaigns. With the lockdown restrictions in place, she has taken part in the virtual Walk Your Socks Off challenge to support the charity instead. Anica is also a guide dog owner herself and has had the lovely Lassie for about 4 and a half years. 

Getting Lassie was awesome, and it is still awesome today. My life has changed a lot – it made getting around easier and some things that I couldn’t do before possible. I travel for work across the UK and to Europe (usually – not at the moment!) and travelling with Lassie is so much easier. I definitely walk much faster! I think because I’m more confident and not anxious about walking into things and tripping over.

Anica has a rare degenerative eye condition that was mostly stable during her school years but unfortunately deteriorated right around the time she was working on her doctorate in social entrepreneurship. She still went on to achieve her PhD and is now a full-time researcher and senior lecturer at Royal Holloway. 

‘Every year there is a rush for my tutor groups because the students know there will be a dog there! Lassie is very popular and will sometimes run commentary in my lectures – she especially gets the laughs when I’m talking about complex subjects and she’ll be yawning or snoring away beside me.’ 

‘Life in lockdown is certainly different. I can tell that Lassie is missing the social interaction with my students and the travelling.’

Anica lives at home with her husband and two children. Like many families, they are having to juggle home life with their work and children. 

‘Home schooling has been particularly challenging – nothing that is sent through is accessible for vision impaired people. There are no audio descriptions and documents are never sent over in a readable by screen readers format. My husband and I are splitting the lessons 50/50 but when it comes to marking, I often have to get my kids to read out their answers and have no way of knowing if what they have written is spelt correctly, so I then have to get my husband to help, which means he is having to do more.’

Anica was aiming to walk 70,000 steps during a week in May for Walk Your Socks Off. 

‘It’s roughly double what I would do in a normal work week. Doing that while on lockdown will be an added challenge! The children are going to help with choosing new routes to keep it varied for them (when they join in) and Lassie. I will also top it up with indoor walks around the house and garden and probably a few Zumba workouts!’ 

‘Guide Dogs do great work and obviously can’t do their normal fundraising at this time so I wanted to at least try and do something – plus it gives me and Lassie something to do!’

See how Anica has got on through Lassie’s Twitter: @GDLassie and Instagram: @LassieGD.