Yvonne first knew something wrong when she was driving.
"I couldn’t see the white line any more. Before this, life was good," Yvonne said.
Yvonne, her husband Phil and two kids lived on a 100 acre farm, raising Merinos. She was extremely active and helped out with everything on the farm – shearing, drenching, butchering...
"I even helped fight the ’83 bush fires. I’d drive the kids to school, they were four and five when my sight started to go," Yvonne said.
Yvonne went to see a specialist in Melbourne who diagnosed her with Retinitis Pigmentosa. The prognosis meant she would lose her sight and it would never return.
Now relying on others to help, Yvonne felt like she had lost her freedom.
"The darkness came quickly. One minute I could read and drive OK. The next I could no longer do everyday things. I had falls in the street, and slipped down steps, I felt I had completely lost my independence. I became very depressed,” Yvonne said.
“But then you have to pick yourself up, and find ways to cope. My memory took over. Phil would drive me places, read to me and help me with all the things I could no longer do. He even did the cooking. The children had to learn to do a lot for themselves. As I lost my independence, they gained theirs," she said.
Guide Dogs provided Yvonne with a long cane 20 years ago, but she still faces the obstacle and dangers of not knowing what’s around at eye-level – like fallen branches.
Yvonne is hoping a Guide Dog will help avoid those dangers.
After Yvonne's husband Phil passed away last year, it’s been really tough on her and without Phil to rely on she needs all the help she can get.
Yvonne is now on the waiting list for a Guide Dog. She hopes to go to her grandsons’ christening in Perth in September with a Guide Dog by her side.
"I can’t wait to go shopping on my own. Having a Guide Dog will make me feel safe and secure in crowds and traffic. Your kindness gives a person like me independence. For me, that’s priceless - the most precious gift of all. Because of you, with a Guide Dog I can find freedom again. My words can never thank you enough," Yvonne said.
People like Yvonne know it costs more than $35,000 to train a Guide Dog, funded by donations from people like you.