Haley is 25 and lives in Tauranga. She’s had low vision since birth and retains some perception of light and shapes.
“Everything just looks like colours to me in the supermarket. I can’t tell what things are by looking at them. I cannot tell the difference between a grapefruit and an orange,” says Haley when describing her low vision.
Haley has come a long way thanks to the support she has had from Blind Low Vision NZ over the years.
Haley says, “I have had a lot of support from Blind Low Vision NZ, thanks to you. I’ve learned to use a white cane. I hated it at first because I found using it difficult and I felt that it made me different to other kids, but then I realised it made me more independent.”
Her sight has deteriorated quite recently, which has been understandably distressing for her.
“I used to have more vision than I have now, and I lived independently for five years. But I had a problem with a detached retina and suddenly I couldn’t even safely fill a cup with hot water,” says Haley.
Haley wants to be more independent. As a young woman, she doesn’t want her low vision to prevent her from living her life.
Haley says, “ It has always been a journey for me. It’s never come easy. I’ve had to fight a lot of schools and a lot of different places to get my needs met. Blind Low Vision NZ has helped me with some of those battles. They have helped me overcome some of the things that I wasn’t able to do before. With their support I can do so much more now.”
Haley wants to return to her studies at university. She wants to be able to live independently again. She has worked hard to get as far as she has, so Haley’s recent setback was devastating.
When Haley had a little more sight than she has now she was as active as she could be. She lived independently. She still grabs any chance to go out sailing or horse riding, riding a tandem bike and “anything outdoors”.
Haley longs to achieve more and have the increased independence a guide dog can bring.
“I couldn’t be more grateful for what I’ve had,” says Haley, of her support from Blind Low Vision NZ, referring to the training she has had to use a white cane, skills and equipment to live independently and services like audiobooks. “But a guide dog gives me more options, it provides more freedom and more independence. It would mean I could start studying again and for me it would mean I could get around the streets on my own or catch the bus by myself.”
Your gift today could help breed, train and care for future guide dogs.
Blind Low Vision NZ is the only organisation in New Zealand that helps to train puppies to become guide dogs. Our Guide Dog Services receive no government funding. That means the entire cost of breeding, specialist training, vet bills and monitoring can only be met with the kind support of people like you.
Your support will help in the training of puppies as well as providing vital support for Kiwis who are blind, deafblind or have low vision.