MANCHESTER United legend Roy Keane is pictured with Lean Kennedy and her guide dog Murphy, for the launch of the Shades fundraiser for Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Lean from Raheen, herself visually impaired, is the access and education officer for the charity.
The organisation needs volunteers to help with their 11th annual Shades fundraiser which takes place from April 29 to May 4.
This fundraiser is essential for the charity to continue to provide extensive services for the blind and visually impaired in Limerick and throughout Ireland.
Government grants accounts for just 15% of the charity’s income. The remaining 85% has to be raised by the organisation itself through fundraising initiatives such as Shades.
The charity requires over €4m in funding for 2013 with the lifetime cost of a guide dog being €38,000.
There are 410 people registered blind in Limerick and 30,000 blind and vision impaired persons in Ireland.
Lean knows better than anyone the positive affect a guide dog can have on the life of a visually impaired person.
“I became vision impaired at the age of 13. I was coping quite well until 10 years ago when I had retinal detachments so I got in touch with Irish Guide Dogs. Initially I did long cane training but then went on to the next step of getting a guide dog. And really there has been no turning back since then,” said Lean.
“Having a guide dog has given me a level of independence and mobility that helps me live my life like everyone else.
“We’re trying to reach other people out there so that we can provide a guide dog for them - provide long cane training - let them get on with their lives, she said.
“It is amazing - Murphy just gives me immense freedom. I have the freedom now to be very versatile in my life. He just has a massively positive impact on my life every day,” said Lean.
To Join Roy’s Team of Shades volunteers on May 2 or 3 in Limerick, please contact Irish Guide Dogs on 1850506300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.