A perfect match!
It's a perfect match! Congratulations to Arron and his Guide Dog Helix who have just graduated as a team. Helix has changed Arron's life, bringing confidence and independence.
Arron was almost blind at six years old as a result of Uveitis, or inflammation of the eye, a symptom of Juvenile Arthritis in his ankle. His retina in his eye later detatched, and a series of operations were unable to restore his sight.
Although the young musician has no vision in his left eye, and about 10% in his right, he is upbeat about his life and excited by the possibilities that Helix brings.
The 25-year-old describes his first walk with Helix as "just fantastic". The power of independence that Helix now brings was brought home to Aaron on their first night walk together. Before, Arron wasn't able to venture out at night alone without support from friends or family. With very little vision, using a white cane in the dark was hard and put him at risk of bumping into objects or tripping off the kerb.
After that first walk in the dark, Arron almost had to pinch himself that he now has be independence no matter the time of day or night. He reflected on the experience in while being driven back to his accommodation: "When we got back into the car couldn't believe I did that confidently," he said.
Now Arron has Helix to lead the way.
Helix has already been on a plane flight with Arron and has accompanied him to music gigs, happily sleeping behind the speakers where it's quieter.
Not only has Helix given Arron independence, he loves the companionship between them and enjoys the routine of walking, feeding, and grooming his new team mate.
Helix has a lot more personality than Arron's white cane.
"My white cane wasn't as responsive as Helix," he said. "The cane can't see where it's going; Helix can. He smoothly leads me past obstacles. I am feeling that I now have heaps of freedom and a companion that interacts with me."
Thank you to all the volunteers, donors, and supporters who helped match Arron with Helix. A special thank you to our wonderful client and supporter, Neil Cundy, who generously donated $15,000 to inspire the community to match his gift.