Hester Louwrens (WAU) thanking Amanda and Sophie for sharing their story.
Guest speaker Amanda Blom and her Guide Dog, Sophie, recently visited the Pretoria North branch of the Women’s Agricultural Union (WAU). Amanda’s adventurous life drastically changed three years ago due to a motorcycle accident.
The recovery process was daunting, first undergoing plastic surgery to rebuild her facial structure, then being sedated for 2 months in a coma andafter spending another month in rehabilitation she could start anew, thankful to be alive. With the loving support of friends and family, she adapted well to her new lifestyle, finding peace in spite of the fact that she was completely blind. Losing her eyesight provided plenty of new challenges but thankfully ample aid was available. Audio software for cell phones and computers gave her access to communication platforms like email, Facebook, sms and even Whatsapp. Pressing a button on her watch helped her to “hear” the time and a special gadget that fits on a cup beeped a warning when boiling water reached the top, enabling her to make coffee or tea for guests. However, one of the biggest aids she ever acquired was Sophie, her trained Guide Dog. She received Sophie from the S A Guide-Dogs Association a year after her accident.Sophie was sponsored by McDonalds – their contribution now evident in her registered name – Sophie McDonald Blom.
Traveling to Johannesburg for 3 weeks of training by professionalstaff introduced her new best friend and her new set of eyes. Thereafter training continued at homein Pretoria for 3 weeks, helping Sophie to familiarize herselfwith the local environment and daily routes to the post office, church and surrounding shops. With Sophie being trained to fly, they could even visit family as far away as the Eastern Cape. Amanda’s husband, Nico, embraced their new lifestyle with patience and love. He teasingly refers to her as his “blind date” and as a pillar of strength he stands devotedly by her side. The accident did not affect her zeal for life and along with Nico, she loves to travel and take on new adventures.
The WAU is going to contribute an amount to S A Guide-Dogsat the end of the year. Hester Louwrens (WAU member) won a draw where she could nominate a charity for their fundraising contribution– she chose S AGuide-Dogs. The cost of training one Guide Dog averages R80 000 and since this is unaffordable for most, they mainly rely on donations and sponsors. Gifts like these enable them to touch lives, as shared by Amanda.