Judy’s story raises funds for the blind

Judy Hale and her guide dog Utah, with Sefulu Calvert, acting area manager (Waikato and BOP) of the Hamilton branch of Blind and Low Vision NZ, during thus month’s handover of funds from Judy’s book.

A book chronicling the life of Cambridge’s Judy Hale has so far raised $2500 for Blind and Low Vision New Zealand (formerly The Blind Foundation) and Guide Dog Services.

Sales from the book, entitled Bright Sunlight Dark Shadow, saw $1000 handed over Blind and Low Vision NZ, and $1500 to Guide Dog Services in Hamilton last week.  Judy and her long-standing guide dog Utah were accompanied to the handover by Samantha (Sam) Cutler, the personal historian with Forget-Me-Not Life Stories who helped put Judy’s extraordinary life story into print.

Now a resident at Bupa St Kilda, Judy was once a familiar figure around Cambridge as she and her guide dog strolled through the streets.  She lost her sight in the late 1980s, 10 years after being left a widow with three children and a farm to run, when she was dragged across a paddock by a panicked mare, resulting in a fractured skull and serious face damage, the loss of her right eye, her sense of smell and part of her memory. Meningitis struck in hospital a week later, and Judy embarked on a lengthy and arduous period of recovery.

Before the accident, she led a full outdoor life that included gaining a certificate in horsemastership and turning her equine-linked hobby into a successful business.  Horses went on to play a part in Judy’s recovery, as did the guide dogs who transformed her life.  Determined to help others, she did motivational speaking, offered support through the Cambridge Blind and Vision Impaired Support Group, and raised funds for guide dogs.

Judy is delighted that funds raised through the first wave of book sales are going to a good cause.

“I really don’t like stories about myself, but if this helps in some small way to support guide dogs, I am happy to do it.  It is important for people to understand just how valuable guide dogs are to the blind.”

More copies of Judy’s book are still available –  contact Cambridge Paper Plus, or order a copy through Sam Cutler on 027 471 8015, or via samantha.lifestories@gmail.com.

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