An inspirational Worksop man has appeared on national television and met Simon Cowell as part of ITV’s Text Santa campaign.
Steve Bowles, who was diagnosed with glaucoma seven years ago and is now completely blind, was chosen to represent Guide Dogs on the Text Santa show- an appeal that raises money for charities across the country.
On the programme, the former shop assistant told Simon Cowell how his guide dog, May, had helped him accept his disability and given him a new lease of life.
Steve said: “I haven’t always needed a guide dog. Up to the age 35 I had no issues with my sight but one morning I woke up in complete darkness.”
“I didn’t know what was happening at first, I was disorientated and scared. Eventually I found out that pressure in my eye, caused by glaucoma, had led to a haemorrhage and I lost all my vision.”
“It wasn’t just my sight that plunged into darkness but my life too. I’d always been active, independent and confident but after my sight loss I didn’t even want to leave home. I felt at a complete loss.”
“One day my social worker came to visit me and finally persuaded me to try a white cane. But it wasn’t for me. She then suggested a guide dog and after some thought I applied and a few months later I was training with May.”
“I can’t even begin to describe the freedom that May has given me. I’m able to go to the shops, visit friends and do what I want when I want to.”
“The quality of life I have regained because of May is priceless. I will always be grateful for the independence, confidence and life that Guide Dogs and its supporters have helped me to regain.”
Richard Leaman, cheif executive of Guide Dogs, said: “We are overwhelmed by the amount raised in this year’s Text Santa campaign.”
“We would like to thank to the ITV Text Santa appeal for choosing Guide Dogs as a beneficiary and the general public for their tremendous support and generosity which has made this year’s appeal such a success.”
“Every hour someone in the UK loses their sight and almost two million people in the UK are living with sight loss. By 2050 this will have doubled. Guide Dogs want to be there for them.”
For more information on how you can help at http://www.guidedogs.org.uk