Classic Car Owners Reunite For St. John’s Teenager In Need Of Guide Dog

Brandon Joy lives with a rare eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa. He hopes that a fundraising campaign rejected by Wheels for Wishes will help him get a guide dog. (Emma Grunwald / CBC)

Cars and bikes of all kinds came together for a Wheels for Wishes fundraiser on Saturday, working to raise $ 50,000 for a teenager in St. John’s in need of a guide dog.

Brandon Joy, 18, was born with a rare condition called retinitis pigmentosa. Deemed legally blind by the time he started grade 8, the disease caused Joy to lose his night vision and most of his peripheral vision. He currently has seven percent of his vision.

Joy is preparing to enter college in the fall, studying education with the hopes of becoming a teacher. He says it would change his life if enough money was raised to help him get a guide dog.

“If I have a guide dog it will make my life easier,” he said.

“My shins will be much safer,” he laughs. “I’ll just be a lot safer overall.”

Cars of all kinds drove through the Goulds neighborhood of St. John’s, delaying a parade to help raise funds for Brandon’s guide dog. (Emma Grunwald / CBC)

The fundraiser was made possible by Wheels for Wishes, a group of auto enthusiasts and volunteers who give back to communities across the province through charity car shows and donations.

The group teamed up with the local chapter of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind about a year and a half ago to start raising funds for ‘Buddy Dogs’, dogs that are not quite completely. trained to be a guide dog, but help people make the transition to a guide dog later in life.

Amanda Halliday, CNIB Community Giving Coordinator, said the partnership has translated into helping people across the province gain freedom by being paired with a guide dog.

“The automotive community of Newfoundland and Labrador is very charitable,” she said. “They are amazing people… they just want to help people.”

Amanda Halliday, CNIB Community Giving Coordinator, hopes groups can raise $ 50,000 by the end of the summer. (Emma Grunwald / CBC)

Halliday said the $ 50,000 goal would cover the costs of a guide dog for a family – raising the dog, different levels of training, and food and vet costs.

“I hope they will be able to increase it by the end of the summer… I think they are almost there, but every penny counts,” she said.

While having the chance to see all types of vehicles take part in a parade through the Goulds neighborhood of St. John’s, Joy said it was easy to sense the level of support for her family and her goal of getting a dog. -guide.

“It means a lot. There are a lot of great people here to support me, and I’m really happy that I can get such an amazing group of people to help me and fundraise for my dog.”

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