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Poppi & Liz Wheeler | Blind Beauty 52

Blind Beauty 52 Featured Image description is in the body of the post.

Poppi & Liz Wheeler | Blind Beauty 52

“A guide dog has given me confidence to get out and about. When I’m feeling scared or overwhelmed Poppi is there to make me laugh or sometimes just sit with me and put her head in my lap. She is more than my eyes. She is my guardian angel and my very best friend. I’m so grateful to have her by my side.” 

~Liz Wheeler
Image 1 description is in the body of the post
Image 1

All I could muster on visiting Poppi’s Instagram account was a long, drawn-out awe. Poppi is a yellow labrador who has the sweetest facial expressions. Knowing she’s given her mum the gift of independence is especially heartwarming.

Poppi’s account is pawsitively positive. She looks out for her mum, Liz, and ensures her safety whenever they are out and about. In addition to caring for her mum, Poppi tackles social issues in a solution-focused, educational and awareness-building way.

You see, Liz only has 5% of her remaining eyesight left which means her eyesight is severely impaired. As I’ve talked about many times, blindness is not a simple matter of seeing versus not seeing. Blindness is on a wide spectrum that takes into account many factors. The important thing to remember is that each of us is doing the best we can with what we have.

Poppi and Liz are advocates working to change perceptions on what it means to live with blindness. By doing so they are making this a smoother transition for those newly affected by sight loss.

Blind Beauty 52 Featured Image Description:

Featured image is a faux fashion magazine cover titled Blind Beauty. Poppi and Liz are on the cover laying in the grass with Liz’s right arm draped around Poppi. Liz is wearing a navy blue sweater with jeans and Poppi is in her harness looking very serious.

Blocks of text superimposed on Liz & Poppi’s photo are: “Bold | She Keeps Pressing Onward,” “Blind | She Has Deeper Insight,” “Beautiful | She Sees To The Heart Of Others”

Image 1:

Liz is looking absolutely stunning while she poses with her bedazzled black “white cane.” She is wearing black heels, pants, leather jacket, and a white blouse accented with a long cream frilly scarf.

You can connect with Poppi on the following social media platforms:

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Vote Frances For Hero Dog Awards

America's Top Guide Dog featured image description is in the body of the post.

Vote Frances For Hero Dog Awards

Who doesn’t love a hero? And who can deny there’s something extra special about the heroics of a furry companion?

Image 1 Frances & Holly description is in the body of the post.
Image 1

A courageous cancer battle, then later sight loss from her treatments, threatened to turn Holly Bonner’s life upside down. As a mom with two small children regaining her independence came in the form of a canine hero.

From the moment Frances, or “Franny” as she’s affectionately known, met Holly life hasn’t been the same. So when I found out Franny was a semi-finalist in the National Hero Dog Award Contest I wanted to share her story. 

As a dog-lover myself I can appreciate the effect a dog has on the life of its owner. In Franny and Holly’s situation though I noticed a remarkable difference Franny made in Holly. Franny gave Holly a priceless gift—independence.

To be clear, Holly was independent before Franny. The noticeable difference was in Holly’s confidence. Never one to skip an advocacy opportunity Franny has become Holly’s four-legged partner.

Who Is Frances?

Franny and Holly came together in September 2016. A female, yellow Labrador retriever, Franny is a certified “guide dog,” trained by Guiding Eyes for the Blind. Her training specifically included intense socialization around children and she now works with Holly in a variety of educational settings. She possesses exemplary self-control and obedience skills. 

Franny’s primary role is to keep Holly safe when out in the world. She does this and so much more which is why she is also being recognized for:

  • her huge impact on Holly’s life and,
  • her partnership within a special program developed by Holly

Image 2 Holly & Franny illustration image description is in the body of the post.
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Franny’s partnership with The Visually Impaired Education Program (V.I.E.P.) is an original program Holly created to help educate the Staten Island Community. The V.I.E.P. provides an opportunity for kids (Pre-K to 8) to learn how to positively and respectfully interact with the blind and visually impaired community. Here is a link to learn more about V.I.E.P. 

Receiving this HERO DOG AWARD would shed a national light on how guide dogs help blind parents raise families. Additionally, Guiding Eyes for the Blind would receive a monetary prize, allowing other blind individuals to benefit from a guide dog.

Please vote for Frances EVERY DAY at herodogawards.org/dog/frances from now until July 11th, 2018

Vote Frances Featured Image Description:

Franny is sitting looking directly at the camera with her deep soulful eyes. She has the sweetest face and her eyes seem all-knowing. A pink decorative necklace with colorful pompoms is around her neck.

Other Image Descriptions:

  • Image 1: Holly sits with Frances at her feet, surrounded by Cub Scouts from Troop 6 in Staten Island.
  • Image 2: Teal circular logo, with the letters “V.I.E.P.” at the top. A caricature of Holly and Franny (sitting to the left of Holly). Franny is wearing a leather harness with “guiding eyes” on it. Holly smiles with a short bob haircut and dark glasses. She’s wearing a Cabernet colored shirt with a blue and gold-toned scarf. In her right hand, she is holding her white cane.

Please VOTE & SHARE: herodogawards.org/dog/frances

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Image Of Positivity Is Changing Perceptions

He told me he was so proud of me because he knows that whenever someone says to me that I can’t do something because I am blind, my initial reaction is to prove them wrong and say, “Watch me! I may not do it the same way, and it may take me a bit longer, but I WILL do it!!!”

~Liz Oleksa

Image Of Positivity Is Changing Perceptions

Logan & The Silhouetted Man

Liz Oleksa, President of Lehigh Valley Council of The Blind has one of the most sparkling personalities of anyone I’ve met. I’m so happy I connected with her. The loving gesture made by her son is a testimony to the content of her character. And as a parent, she absolutely ROCKS! 

Blind Beauty 5 Image description is in the body of the post.
Liz, Logan & Bryce Krispie

It all began when talking with my 13-year-old son, Logan about this really amazing website and blog “Bold Blind Beauty,” and the icon that comes along with it all; her name is Abigale (Abby). She is a beautiful combination of “Ability” and ordinary brown bird, the “Nightingale.” Abby is depicted as a classy bold woman, who wears a stylish dress, handbag over her arm, a snazzy updo hairstyle. She proudly walks with her red and white cane, as Abby is a woman who happens to be visually impaired.

I was speaking with Logan about how important it is to be proud of who you are. Regardless of disability, regardless of how we look on the outside because we all have an inner beauty that shines through. It is about how we present our attitude and image of “self-worth” to the world around us.

Logan said that it was really cool and an impressive idea to be sending out to everyone, not only people who are blind or visually impaired. He told me that made him think of something, and he would be back in a bit because he wanted to go make me something.

The Silhouetted Man

The Silhouetted Man

I had lost my sight in September 2012 from Diabetic Retinopathy. Logan had seen how I went from living my life as a person who was sighted and had no self-confidence, to being a person with no physical sight and finally being proud of who I am. I finally can walk in a room with my head held high, knowing that I am enough. That I don’t need to prove myself to anyone except myself. I have always joked with Logan about my loss of eye-sight, that no matter what, “I will always be cooler because I can do everything with my eyes closed,” so to speak…

Needless to say, about a half hour later, Logan came back to me and said that he had something to share with me. He had taken my positive attitude and combined it with the amazing “Abby” concept to create an image of his very own. He described it as the following to me: It is a silhouette of a man using a red and white cane, on a pure white background. The man is facing the right of the picture where the black text reads

“Blind people can do anything that sighted people can do. But blind people are cooler because we do it with our eyes closed!”

~Logan Oleksa

He told me he was so proud of me because he knows that whenever someone says to me that I can’t do something because I am blind, my initial reaction is to prove them wrong and say, “Watch me! I may not do it the same way, and it may take me a bit longer, but I WILL do it!!!”

This is such an important message to be sent out, for both Abby and “the silhouetted man”. Not just for the blind and visually impaired community, but for all people. People as a whole.

So many people, disability or no disability, struggle with negative self-image. What people need to remember though is that it doesn’t matter what the outside looks like, but rather what shines from the inside. How can we present ourselves in confidence, self-pride, and self-worth if we keep a negative image of ourselves as a whole?

Let yourself be proud of who you are! You are unique and beautiful in your very own individual way, and that inner beauty has so much to share with the world!

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WOTM 32 Featuring Blind Beader

BlindBeader and her guide dog, Jenny at a pier in New York

WOTM Featuring BlindBeader

Perfection Doesn’t Make a Day Perfect

Editor’s Note: Today, I’m pleased to introduce you to a fabulous young woman. Among other things, she’s a wife, animal lover, athlete, bookworm, jewelry designer, musician, and writer. BlindBeader—as she likes to be called—gives us a glimpse into ‘a day in the life’ of one blind woman. Enjoy!

The Great Cell Phone Case Hunt

I’m curled up under blankets, snuggling with my guide dog and one of my cats. The two of them are besties, but it is uncommon for them to simply rest in shared space, so I’m thoroughly enjoying the moment.

It’s been a long day, but a good one, and I’m just resting in the knowledge that Perfect days do exist. It’s not that my day went without a hitch – in fact, I hit a couple of snags – but it was a day where my blindness was neither ignored or emphasized. This is rare, almost impossible.

Usually, even in small ways, I have to educate someone somewhere about providing good descriptions of items I’m looking to buy, or telling a well-meaning stranger not to grab my arm and “direct” me somewhere. Today, I was simply free to be me – blind, for sure, but respected all the same.

It started with the Great Cell Phone Case Hunt. I left my guide dog, Jenny, at home for the morning because she’s worked her butt off the past two weeks without a day off, and I figured she needed it. She disagreed, slowly and mournfully walking over to her bed just like I asked her to. My husband and I visited no fewer than six cell phone stores and kiosks in the mall, and only one had a cell phone case for our model of phones, and even that one case we didn’t like.

A Hockey Lover’s Dream Experience

On a whim, we stopped in at the Oilers store. My husband has an Oilers hockey jersey, and even Jenny has one. I LOVE hockey, so we decided it was my turn! From the moment we entered the store, items, sizes, and prices were described in a perfect amount of detail. (Down to the cut of the jerseys, the style of printing, the color scheme, and the manufacturer). I ended up choosing a really cool textured T-shirt with ribbing on the sleeves like a jersey, so in my mind, I got the best of both worlds!

It is SO rare to receive such amazing service without feeling like an inconvenience or having the “helpful” store associate get grabby. I commended him for his amazing descriptions and directions; I believe it’s just as important to point out what people do right as it is to give voice to what’s been done wrong.

After making it home, Jenny and I took off for the park. it was Jenn’s first chance to go for a good run in over a week, and I made a HUGE tactical error of putting on her “park bell” well in advance of arriving at the park. Picture an excited 3-year-old arriving at Disneyland and you’ve got a pretty good idea of Jenny’s reaction en route to the park. We met some friends there, and three dogs ran around, sniffed everywhere, and basically did their own individual dog park thing while my friend and I walked. Jenny did so much sniffing that we’re pretty sure her nose has either exponentially expanded or contracted. Since her nose is firmly planted in the blankets… I’ll let you all know later which it was!

A Crafter’s Delight

After the park, my friend dropped me off at one of my favourite bead shops. I’ve got a craft show coming up in a few weeks, and my fingers need to get busy beading bracelets, necklaces, and earrings, along with adding stocking stuffers to my inventory (key chains, dog collar charms, bookmarks). I’ve got one direct order to fill now and I need a few supplies.

The store was HOPPING! Sometimes I get a wonderful opportunity to browse for an hour and chat with the people working there. Today, no chatting! The crowded store was full of merchandise because it always is, but there were more people browsing, paying for purchases at the counter, or asking questions than I think I’ve ever noticed there at one time.

I was free to simply let my fingers do the walking, feeling the different sizes and textures of the beads hanging from strings on the wall. I found some gorgeous beads – at least gorgeous in texture – but the colour was more orange than is fashionable now, and I already have enough of these stones. My other purchases were more challenging to find, but the staff can usually find things quickly, even obscure products like what I was looking for. My purchase made using the debit machine with the Tap feature, Jenny and I strolled to the door and out onto the street.

Homeward Bound

The walk home was…cold. It was cloudy and threatening to rain, but I was so happy with life that I almost didn’t notice it. And then, almost as if to show me it felt the same way, I could feel and see (with my very limited vision) the tiniest hint of sunlight poking through the clouds. It felt like it was just for me, on that street, at that time, telling me that it’s the little things that often make or break a day. I tend to agree. Today was full of “little things” that were actually essential to my well-being (a snuggle under blankets, a great shopping experience). Maybe they weren’t so little after all.

BlindBeader Featured Image Description:

BlindBeader and her guide dog, Jenny at a pier in New York on a bright sunny day.

You can connect with BlindBeader at: