Like most of us, Armidale resident Deb Warren leads a busy life, juggling work and study, social and sporting interests. But unlike most of us, Deb cannot see. Her eyes were removed and replaced with prosthetics when she was a baby to save her from cancer.
Now 37 years young and running her own massage therapy business while completing a Master of Psychology degree, Deb has achieved more than most. Her career goal is to become a counsellor. Deb credits the services she's received from Guide Dogs NSW/ACT since she was 15, such as cane training and orientation support, as being key to her functionality. She adds, that having to keep up with eight siblings during her childhood in outback NSW taught her resilience, as 'being blind was never an excuse not to be part of it'.
"Without a Guide Dog, navigating around obstacles is almost impossible and being in an unfamiliar area would be very frightening," says Deb who was matched with Mickey, her third Guide Dog, in July last year. "I'd probably be limited to scraping my feet along the ground and moving very slowly with my arms extended."
To express her gratitude, in late 2012 Deb and local Orientation and Mobility Instructor Jenny Croaker scaled Africa's highest peak, Mt Kilimanjaro, raising over $50,000 to fund the training cost of one more Guide Dog.
Did you know: one in two Guide Dogs is paid for by gifts in wills? Find out more.