What was it like to go blind

Team Jirby’s Miracle Journey

My experience at Guide Dogs of America and receiving my Guide Dog Kirby were truly modern day miracles.

My miracle journey began 20 years ago when I was diagnosed with the family eye disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa. For those unfamiliar with RP, there is no cure. After my diagnosis I tried to keep on with life as usual but over the years gradual changes took place. Things like driving I held on to as long as possible because I wanted to stay involved in my children’s lives. The hard reality though was that my world was closing in, things were getting darker. I began to realize I couldn’t escape the inevitable.

After running into a few walls, bruising my shins, and grasping for guidance in dim lighting, my confidence had spiraled downhill. Lost was my independence to move about in public places. I smiled and pretended to see until I couldn’t pretend anymore. I decided it was time to make a change. When I heard that a guide dog gave confidence and independence back to those with vision loss, I was overcome with emotion. I cried tears of hope. Soon enough I reached out to Guide Dogs of America. After a few days in class they gave me my modern day miracle – my guide dog, Kirby.

My life will never be the same. My relationship with Kirby has healed my spirit. It has given me back my confidence and independence. Kirby has restored my joy and quality of life. I will forever be grateful for GDA.

Editor’s Note: This blog was written by recent graduate Jill Anderson of class #400. She will be continually keeping us up to date on her new journey with her guide Kirby, appropriately named team “Jirby”. Be sure to check back for more updates on team Jirby as the adventures continue on.