Lewes man, guide dog seek community support in month-long fundraiser
Episode Date: May 21, 2018
(LEWES, Del.) – It was back in early December, 2017, when Tommy Gibson shared his story on WRDE and introduced us to his then-new guide dog, Argo. Today, Gibson and Argo are participating in a new, month-long marathon in hopes to help connect more guide dogs with people who suffer from vision loss.
“It’s the 2018 Guiding Eyes Wag-a-thon, which is a fundraiser for Guiding Eyes. It challenges the dog handler and the dog to complete 26.2 miles of walking or running in the course of the month of May,” explained Gibson. "I just decided that I need to do this to give back to the school for everything they’ve done for me."
In addition to walking 26.2 miles, neighbors are being asked to support Gibson and Argo by donating to Guiding Eyes for the blind. The goal - $5,000.
"Each dog, they estimate it costs about $50,000 a dog to train and get put into the hands of somebody who needs it,” said Gibson. “I’ve had three dogs, so I’ve used $150,000 worth of dog. So, I’m trying to give back to the school for their generosity with the dogs and just the freedom and piece of life that they’ve given back to me by giving me my ability to move around and go places that normally I’d have to have somebody take me."
Gibson says the fundraiser is particularly important to him because he knows first-hand just how much a guide dog can change a person’s life.
"The first time that they took us to a park and told us, ‘You’re on your own. Go walk through the park. We’ll have people stationed around, but go walk through the park with your dog,’ I’m like, ‘OK.’ So as I’m walking, it was such a sense of freedom and it was doing something that I thought I would never be able to do again since losing my sight, which was walk by myself in a park or cross the street. You know, I always needed someone to help me with it and now I got my dog and that dog gave me such a sense of freedom. I was bawling my eyes out by the end of that walk."
Once the month is over, Gibson says his efforts to help other vision-impaired people will continue.
"It's my ability to give back. It's my way of saying 'thank you' to the school. Because it's just been, without the dog, I don't know where I'd be,” said Gibson.
To see how Gibson and Argo are doing and/or to donate to their cause, visit https://give.guidingeyes.org/wag-a-thon/Member/MyPage/1935184/Tommy-Gibson.