A partially-sighted gran was too afraid to leave her house alone after a woman tripped over her walking stick and called her ‘stupid’.
Alyson Evans, from Sketty , is a former nurse on the dementia ward in Cefn Coed Hospital.
She lost her sight in her right eye nine years ago and more recently in her left, after a build-up of pressure led to glaucoma.
The 61-year-old was also asked by a woman why she wanted to go out at all if she can’t see.
She said: “After a woman called me stupid, it knocked me back, I didn’t want to leave the house after that. She could see and I couldn’t.
“When I was flat hunting I mentioned that I needed somewhere which was easy to get out of because of my sight, the woman responded saying why would I want to go out if I couldn’t see.
“I am now unable to read or write. I had worked all my life and been independent, so I had to adjust. Those comments are not going to stop me from going out now.”
Despite losing sight in both eyes, Alyson can still partially see some things.
She added: “I’m happy with what I can see as long as I can carry on seeing my grandaughter.”
My Guide, a scheme run in Swansea by Guide Dogs Cymru, which helps blind and partially sighted people regain their mobility, has helped Alyson rebuild her confidence and fitness by stepping out with her own personal sighted guide.
“I was paired with a woman called Irene Davies, a trained sighted guide,” the 61-year-old Gran said.
“Walking with her gives me confidence. Now I’m working on regaining my fitness levels.
“I’m getting a long cane and I’m putting my name down for a guide dog.”
Steve Kersley, volunteer co-ordinator for Guide Dogs Cymru, said identifying the right volunteers is vital, as the scheme involves working closely with adults who have a visual impairment.
He said: “We take care to get the right match of personality and interests.
“A volunteer might only give an hour a week, but it needs to be a regular commitment.”
Volunteers receive specialist training in practical sighted guiding to enable them to form a successful and confident partnership. Further training focuses on improving communication skills and overcoming barriers to independence.
Volunteers aged 18 and over are currently needed for clients in Swansea, Llanelli and Neath.