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Guide Dog Supports Independence

Jun 11 2020

Posted In:

20/20 Blog, Press

Palo Alto, CA — Despite progressively losing his vision to a genetic retinal degenerative disease, Michael Stone, an athlete and small business owner, is active, optimistic, and determined. He channels his energy into running and biking, teaming up with friends to guide him through these activities. Until recently, Michael resisted getting a guide dog, because he thought it would limit his independence.

Michael said, “I quickly realized I was wrong as my new guide dog, Geo, helped me navigate busy streets and running trails with a sense of security and independence that surprised me.”

His experience was captured in the article “A six-legged team” in The Boulder Weekly.

Michael’s experience is not unique. Guide dogs help thousands of blind people, young and old, venture into the world with confidence. These trusted companions perform an important job while also contributing to the owner’s overall wellness by relieving depression, stress, and anxiety. 

Vinit Mahajan M.D., Ph.D., associate professor and vice chair of ophthalmology research at Stanford University, was inspired by Michael from the very first time he treated him in his clinic over five years ago. 

Mahajan said, “Being a triathlete and owner of Colorado Multisport attests to the fact that Michael has successfully adapted to living with limited vision. His story of perseverance and adaptability helps motivate other patients who are trying to live their best lives under very difficult and challenging circumstances.”

At his bike shop, Michael uses his experience overcoming adversity to help other bikers of all levels overcome any obstacles they may have accessing the sport. He is also a public speaker who shares his journey living with a life altering medical condition. Geo will now be an important part of that story. 

Guiding Eyes for the Blind, founded in 1954, connects guide dogs with visually impaired people at no cost, and it is the only organization that specifically trains running guide dogs.

Guide Dogs for the Blind has been matching visually impaired people with highly trained dogs since 1942. Their services are supported by donations and are also free of charge.