Meet Marie and guide dog Treasure
Marie Abercrombie’s vision loss was gradual and she fought it hard with traditional and alternative treatments. “I have RP – retinitis pigmentosa,” she says. “It’s a hereditary disease; everyone in my family is blind. My mother was, my grandmother was. It starts from birth but it just closes in like a tunnel. And now I have no vision in my left eye, and in my right eye I see through a tunnel like a straw. I fought it like crazy—like crazy—until about two years ago, I gave in to it. I’ve done everything. I’ve done acupuncture in Canada; I’ve done as many trial tests as they have but…it gets emotional sometimes.”
Marie’s renowned interior design business had been thriving. “My career was an interior designer, and I studied in Italy, France, and England,” she says. “My eyesight started going and I couldn’t drive people without being dangerous. You can’t explain that to clients unless you tell them that you are visually impaired, and that doesn’t do very much for an interior designer’s career, so I had to quit.”
As Marie’s personal struggles transitioned into acceptance, with the help of her daughter she applied for a guide dog. Once Southeastern Guide Dogs had accepted her application, she says, “I was so excited I could hardly stand it!” Now she’s trusting the easygoing paws of a sweet yellow Labrador named Treasure, her first guide dog, and she looks forward to life with Treasure back in Roseland, Virginia.
“I think we’re perfect together,” she says. “I’ve gotten a new level of confidence. I didn’t go to places alone, and now I won’t be scared with Treasure. That part is wonderful! I can just go when I feel like it. I won’t have to call a friend; we can just go. It’s going to be the most wonderful new experience. It’s freedom!”