Brad is a man on the move!
Brad juggles a hectic schedule of study; shifts at a patisserie, where he is an apprentice pastry chef; and swimming training each weekend. In between, he manages to find time for cricket practice. Brad is no back yard cricketer, he is captain of the WA State Team for Blind Cricket Australia.
As a 21 year old Brad also likes to catch up with friends and take part in another favourite pastime – cooking and finessing the skills he will need when he completes his apprenticeship.
This study/work/sport balance and socialisation would be quite a challenging schedule for anyone, but for Brad, everyday life is a greater challenge than for most of us, as he is almost completely blind.
Brad was born with the rare genetic condition known as Fraser syndrome. His vision loss has been caused by a combination of the eye condition nystagmus (fast, uncontrolled movement of the eye) and due to scarring he has very few eyelashes to protect his eyes from dust and sand in the air.
Last year Brad was matched to his first Guide Dog, Jaxx, a beautiful yellow Labrador. Having Jaxx by his side, Brad says, has given him greater independence and freedom. Jaxx has also taken away an enormous amount of stress and made life more seamless in every way.
“With Jaxx, I rely on him. He makes me feel safe and I know I can get to my destination without any issues.”
Until he was paired with his Guide Dog, Brad used a cane to help him navigate the world around him and he relied heavily on family and friends. Now with Jaxx by his side, Brad says life has become so much easier.
“Jaxx helps me to just get on with life and he has also given me a greater sense of security.
Without him, I’d probably be doing my best to get everything done, but it make things easier to have Jaxx. And it makes it quicker. My family now has peace of mind. They are not worried when I walk down the streets as I’m being more independent now.”
After giving long and considered thought to the responsibilities and benefits of a Guide Dog, Brad applied and was soon matched to Jaxx. Brad knew when he did his first trial walk with Jaxx and his Guide Dog Mobility Instructor that Jaxx was the one. “We are a great match, he is really good” Brad says of his partnership with Jaxx.
Like Brad, Jaxx is a fast walker and keeps Brad on the move and commuting between his study, work, sporting and social commitments.
Brad is truly grateful for the time and effort that has gone into training Jaxx. He acknowledges that it would not have been possible to train Jaxx without your support.
Your donation today will make such a difference to the lives of Western Australians like Brad.
Brad tells more of his story in the video below. For an audio described version, click on this link. Photographs above courtesy of Alex Cearns, Houndstooth Studio.