Loyal.D has been supporting Guide Dogs Singapore (GDS) since 2018 and we were more than happy to partner with them again this year to help raise awareness and funds for their cause. As a service and companion dog a Guide Dog gives a visually impaired human the gift of helping them to integrate into society and live independently.
Working Guide Dogs are extremely intelligent, sensitive, even tempered and perform a highly skilled job. To select and train the right puppies to become guide dogs is the crucial beginning to successfully pairing them with their waiting humans in need of their expert help.
While every purchase on loyald.com during April and May 2019 helped raise funds, GDS's need is significantly more! They are in need of $80,000 to fund the provision of guide dogs and training programmes for their clients with vision loss. To give you a glimpse, your donation will go a long way in helping the following two candidates, who have had their assessments by specialists and are ready to have a guide dog.
Following are the stories of Sophie Soon and Annie Mok and how you can help GDS find their match as soon as possible.
Sophie Soon: I was a very happy kid growing up, even though my condition was discovered at 5 years old, as I had trouble seeing things other 5 year-olds could. I was not bothered, as my condition is Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) – Central Vision Loss, which means it’s progressive. Thus at a young age, my vision was still functional. I continued going to a mainstream school and pursued activities like swimming and violin. Looking back, I realised that I never accepted my condition, but tried acting “normal” because I was fearful I would be socially segregated.
As a dog lover, I thought guide dogs were a match made in heaven for me. Having extremely poor day vision, despite being an active person, I find it mentally exhausting and frightening to travel out. A white cane also has limitations, such as only detecting an obstacle, but not how to go around it. The safety and companionship a guide dog brings is indescribable, giving my caregivers a peaceful mind as well, especially because I’m a female.
With my guide dog, help from Guide Dogs Singapore Ltd (GDS) and your support, I will be empowered to continue pursuing my aspirations: competing in swimming for Singapore, finishing my performance diploma in music and furthering my education. I want my platform to inspire others - you can have a thousand reasons to tell you why you can’t, but you just need one reason why you can, and that’s because you want to.
I am a Nanyang Polytechnic Graduate, a Team Singapore Swimmer and a Violinist. My name is Sophie Soon, and I hope you will join me to build up one another, because we’re part of this community together. Donate to the International Guide Dog Day (IGDD) Campaign by 30 Jun 2019 here: www.giving.sg/gds/igdd2019, so I can receive my guide dog, and take that first step.
Annie Mok: When I was around 8 years old, my family realised I couldn’t see well, but didn’t think it was anything serious. I was just diagnosed as being short-sighted. However, there were signs that I had an eye condition. For example, I had accidentally stepped on a newborn kitten, severely injuring it.
It was only in my 50s when my optician discovered I was more than just short-sighted. I went to the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) for a thorough check, and discovered I was suffering from Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) – Central Vision Loss. This would eventually make me lose my eye sight completely, and nothing could be done to cure it as it’s genetic.
My doctor had been advising me to use a white cane, but I was embarrassed and stubborn against it, as I still had a little vision. However, my eye sight deteriorated with each doctor visit. I began falling and breaking my bones, and had to resign from my job when I couldn’t see even the cursor on my computer screen. I also had to endure unkind remarks from public members when I accidentally knocked into them. One unforgettable occasion was when I went out alone, and stepped on a man’s slipper as I didn't see him. I apologised, but that didn’t dissipate his anger. He continued hurling vulgarities at me even when I had left to walk in another direction. I became even more afraid to go out, and needed someone to accompany me.
Thus, I finally relented and contacted Guide Dogs Singapore Ltd (GDS) for rehabilitation. GDS’ training is very in-depth, and has given me confidence and skills to go out alone, returning my independence, freedom and safety. I am on the wait list for a guide dog. I wish to be paired with one before I completely lose my sight. Thank you to the kind people who have been supporting GDS and our community. Being paired with a guide dog will greatly increase my safety and efficiency in accomplishing my goals, and offer me companionship in a world of darkness.
I am not letting my visual impairment stop me from doing what I want, and to live actively and healthy. I am working towards returning to the workforce and doing community work. My name is Annie Mok. Please help to empower me further by donating to the International Guide Dog Day (IGDD) Campaign by 30 Jun 2019 here: www.giving.sg/gds/igdd2019, so I can receive my guide dog, and more people like me can receive help to live their lives again.
Why your support is needed for the International Guide Dog Day Campaign:
- There are more than 300,000 people with sensory and physical disabilities in Singapore and will only increase.
- With the right support, these people can become contributing members of society.
- One of these aids is the providence of guide dogs.
- IGDD is an international day of celebration towards guide dogs and their professionals. In Singapore, we're commemorating this day with a campaign from Mar to Jun.