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Monday 11 December 2023 Dublin: 10°C
Monica Wims out walking with her guide dog Guinness.
Guide Dogs

Sligo garda raising funds for guide dog charity after mother's freak accident

Monica Wims lost her sight two years ago but her guide dog Guinness has given her back her independence.

A SLIGO GARDA is raising funds for the Irish Guide Dog Association (IGDA) in honour of his mother who lost her sight two years ago in a farming accident.

Speaking to, Raymond Wims said the incident was “life-changing” for his mother, who, before her accident, was a care worker with the HSE, specialising in care for people with disabilities.

“It was just devastating, she went from working fulltime, being a housekeeper, doing the cooking and having full sight one day to no sight the next day and being dependent on other people,” he said.

His mother had an operation in London to attempt to reattach her retina but this was unsuccessful and her son said after that “she felt like she did everything she could and was able to move on and deal with it”.

In July this year, she received a guide dog called Guinness from the IGDA, and the Sligo garda said this has hugely improved his mother’s quality of life.

“It’s just given her more independence and she’s healthier as well because she’s out exercising more and she can make her own way into the local town and go into all the different shops,” he said. “She lives in the country so it’s important for her to be able to navigate the country roads. It’s given her more confidence now and Guinness is a real ice-breaker when she meets people as well.”

imageMonica walking with Guinness and her grandchildren Zara Wims (5) and Max Wims (3).

Wims said he decided to raise money for the charity when he saw how hard everyone involved was working.

“With what’s been going on with charities lately, people want to know what their money is doing, but I’ve been down in Cork and was happy that it was well run so I’m happy to fundraise for it,” he explained. “It’s a tight operation, there’s no waste and I couldn’t believe it when they told me they only get 20 per cent of their funding from the government.”

The association needs €4.4 million a year to operate and 80 per cent of this is collected through fundraising.

To contribute to this, celtic rock band ‘More Power to your Elbow’, has recorded a version of the song Molly Malone to raise funds and Wims is working with An Garda Síochana, well known Dublin nightclub Copper Face Jacks and music promotions agency MPI to promote it, with the hope it will raise much-needed funds for the association in the run up to Christmas.

The single can be downloaded on iTunes here and all proceeds go to the IGDA.

Read: Blind canoeist to paddle the length of the Shannon for charity>

Column: Why are over two thirds of blind people in the world women?>

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