Teuila Fuatai is a reporter for the NZ Herald

Blind mum urges people to dig deep for puppy appeal

Lisa Reid, with daughter Maddison, now has Heidi as her guide dog.
Lisa Reid, with daughter Maddison, now has Heidi as her guide dog.

A woman who lost her sight because of a brain tumour as a child is appealing to New Zealanders to be generous during this year's Red Puppy Appeal.

Lisa Reid said receiving her guide dog at age 21 changed her life.

She made headlines in 2000 when she regained partial eyesight after knocking her head. Doctors have been unable to explain why.

She had bent to kiss her guide dog Ami good night but knocked her head on a coffee table. When she woke the next morning she could see for the first time in 10 years. The tumour which caused her to lose her vision was diagnosed when she was 11.

"I was craving to be a 'normal' teenager and it was hard to cope with having no sight at all," Ms Reid said.

"I wasn't free to go where I wanted to, I had to rely on others and I didn't feel part of the world around me."

Being paired up with Ami brought a lot of changes to her life.

"She helped me regain my confidence and allowed me to feel like myself again.

"With Ami by my side, I could travel on public transport, meet friends and go to work. Ami gave me my life back."

Her 12-year-old daughter Maddison, who has the middle name Ami in memory of the dog, was another blessing, she said.

Ms Reid still needs a guide dog to get around. After Ami died in 2011, she was partnered with her second dog, Heidi.

The Blind Foundation appeal was an important part of bringing both guide dogs into her life, Ms Reid said. But many people in the blind community were not as lucky, with the waiting time for a dog 12 months.

- NZ Herald

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