How would you feel if one night you went to bed seeing perfectly well, then woke up the next morning and couldn’t see a thing?
That was the frightening reality for Gill Brown in July 2009, who had suffered a mini eye-stroke.
Fortunately Gill’s sight did slowly return, and ultimately she got full vision back and was even able to start driving again. During her time without sight Gill was introduced to Dorset Blind Association and was helped significantly by various members of the charity’s team, so when her own sight was fully restored she wanted to give something back.
For Gill “giving back” has taken the form of volunteering to help with various social and activity clubs provided by Dorset Blind Association, including acting as a driver to many whose sight loss means that they always need help with transport.
Gill feels that her own temporary experience of sight loss means that she really understands how anxious and scared people can become when they are blind or partially sighted and empathises with that. She loves seeing the people she helps come out of their shells and develop, and enjoys feeling a part of their lives.
Volunteering for Dorset Blind Association has become an important part of Gill’s routine and she regularly gives sixteen or more hours of her time each week to this. Why does she do it? Partly to give back for the help she herself received, but as she says, “I don’t have to do it; I just want to do it – I like doing it, and as a caring person it gives me the opportunity to help others in a way I know makes a positive difference to their lives.”