Leeds woman launches desperate GoFundMe appeal after blind mum loses life-changing device
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Sandra Lawrence, 58, lost her sight in 2017 just two weeks after being diagnosed with Doyne Honeycomb Dystrophy.
Her daughter Laura Varley said it had a devastating impact on her mum's confidence, leaving her reluctant to leave the house or get out of bed for months.
But Sandra, of Seacroft, was given a lifeline after her family pooled together to buy a Synapptic mobile device.
The device is adapted for the blind to read out everything on the screen, track Sandra's location and let her connect with people online again.
“It gave her the confidence to venture further out because we’d get an alert if anything happened," Laura, 28, told the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“It changed her life. It gave her that sense of independence and she could sit on Facebook again, doing everything we can do.
“It was a life-saver. We thought we’d lost her for a while.”
On Tuesday, Sandra dropped the phone while she was getting into a car and the £700 device was missing when she returned; the family believes it has been stolen.
“She was absolutely devastated, she was heartbroken," Laura said.
"I had to do something to try and get her another one.”
Laura has launched a GoFundMe appeal to raise the cash needed to replace the device.
More than a third of the £700 goal has already been raised and Laura said this is testament to "amazing" people in Leeds, as well as appreciation for Sandra's tireless work in the community.
Sandra worked in the NHS for 30 years and had won awards for her work in a care home before she lost her sight.
She organises fundraising events at Seacroft Village Hall every year to raise money for a designated charity and has welcomed people in need into her home.
"She’s the mother of the community," Laura added.
"All my friends flocked to our house over the years and for people who have been in hard times, her door is always open - there’s always a spare room, the cooker and kettle are always on.
“Everything she’s done has always been for somebody else.
“I put the fundraiser on expecting absolutely nothing and it’s proven that we know some amazing people. The money we have got towards it so far has blown me away."
The details of the fundraiser have been kept secret from Sandra and Laura hopes to surprise her mum with the device when the target goal is reached.
Laura said: “She’s never been the type to accept help and I think she’ll be overwhelmed.
"And she’ll immediately want to thank everybody that donated.”
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