Hailey Lindermann has never let living with blindness hold her back.
Hailey, 27, was born with retinopathy of prematurity and as a result has been blind since birth with only a small amount of light perception.
Despite this, Hailey has always wanted to be as independent as possible. Growing up, she can’t remember a time she didn’t have her white cane in hand as she explored her surroundings.
“My independence has always been important to me. Having a cane for as long as I can remember is part of that,” Hailey said.
“I’ve always been an incredibly confident person,” she said
While she has always strived to be independent, venturing into unknown locations was often a challenging experience for Hailey.
“If I didn’t know the area I was going into, I’d always have to be near someone I know.
“I also found, even in areas that I knew well, that I would become fatigued after venturing out on my own.”
Hailey’s confidence in navigating her surroundings was boosted recently when she was matched with her Seeing Eye Dog, Orella.
Hailey was matched with Orella through her National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) package. After learning more about how a Seeing Eye Dog could support her, Vision Australia worked with Hailey to have the necessary funding included in her package.
“The instructors at Seeing Eye Dogs held a teleconference with me, explaining exactly what a Seeing Eye Dog can do and how it could be beneficial for me to have one.
“Even outside of that with the NDIS planning itself, Vision Australia explained the system in a way that made sense to me, they even came to my appointments with me.”
“The whole training package was funded. I have funding for food and anything she needs, like insurance, is covered.”
While they’ve only been matched for a few months, Hailey said having Orella by her side has already made a huge difference in her life. “With Orella, I feel we can share the workload between us, which means I’m less stressed. I love the outdoors and now I’m able to get out there more often and with more ease than ever before.”