Lorna's story

Mum of two, Lorna, says that despite being born with a vision impairment, she never truly accepted her disability, preferring instead to muddle through. But when her baby son, Rex, inherited her two eye conditions, she was determined to be a good role model so he would never feel embarrassed of his sight loss like she did. Today, thanks to support from Guide Dogs, they're both living life to the full.

When I’ve got his harness in my hand, and Yarren next to me, it just feels like freedom.
Lorna, guide dog owner

Lorna grew up with a vision impairment, but says she never truly came to terms with it. “I was desperate not to be disabled and didn't want to be different or stick out in any way.” Lorna has two eye conditions –  and optic atrophy – which when combined are incredibly rare.

Whilst juggling life as a new mum, Lorna realised her eyesight had dramatically deteriorated through pregnancy. “I just thought it was because of lack of sleep or being busy as a new mum. But then I noticed my eyes were staying like that, and things weren’t as easy to manage as before.”

Then, just before her son Rex’s first birthday, a diagnosis changed her and the whole family’s lives. “We noticed Rex had an eye rotation, and he was diagnosed with nystagmus like me. Then, after further investigations, they found he’d also inherited optic atrophy. That’s when I thought: how can I help him have a better experience than me?”

I felt relief that I was in the system, I was going to get help. But it was also hard to admit that I was going to start living a different lifestyle, rather than just pretending and coping.
Lorna, guide dog owner

Contacting Guide Dogs

To be a good role model for Rex, in 2016 Lorna first contacted Guide Dogs for cane training. She was surprised at how much more freedom and confidence it gave her. Spurred on, Lorna was offered a taster walk with a guide dog. “It just felt like freedom and that kickstarted my application.”

Lorna was partnered with her guide dog Yarren, a Labrador cross golden retriever, in 2020 and he has completely transformed her life. “I can do the school run without worrying, take my kids to soft play or the cinema. I could never have done that before. Yarren has actually made me a better mum.”