Frances — Guide/Hearing
Charity Partner: Guiding Eyes for the Blind
Location: Staten Island, New York
At the age of 32, I lost my eyesight from a rare complication after battling breast cancer. Over the next 6 months, I would have to relearn everything from crossing the street to sorting laundry. Then, the universe threw me the ultimate curveball – I found out I was pregnant! When people asked me how I planned on traveling with me baby, I responded, “I’m going to get a guide dog.”
In September of 2016, Guiding Eyes for the Blind matched with me with Frances, a female yellow Labrador. Since then, “Franny” and I have become partners in both parenting and advocacy work for visually impaired parents.
Now the mother of 2 daughters, I depend on Frances to help guide me to pre-school, doctor’s appointments and extracurricular activities.
When “Franny” is not helping me meet the demands of motherhood, she accompanies me to help educate kids through our Visually Impaired Education Program (VIEP). Aimed at grades K-2, V.I.E.P. ’s mission is to engage school-aged children through classroom interaction with the blind/visually impaired community; helping diminish stereotypes associated with blindness. Frances attends every presentation, a beautiful reminder about the important work of guide dogs.
I believe Frances deserves to be the American Hero Guide Dog because her partnership allows me to be the woman I want to be. She helps me juggle all that comes with being a working mom while educating our community about living with vision loss.