Blind Leeds grandma left in tears of joy after secret fundraiser to replace stolen device

A Leeds grandma has been left in tears of joy following a secret fundraiser to replace a life-changing device.

By Abbey Maclure
Sunday, 17th April 2022, 4:30 am

Sandra Lawrence, 58, lost her sight in 2017 just two weeks after being diagnosed with Doyne Honeycomb Dystrophy.

It had a devastating impact on her confidence, but she was later 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.

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Sandra Lawrence, 58, with the Synapptic mobile device

But the grandma-of-one was left heartbroken last month after dropping the phone while she was getting into a car. The £700 device was missing when her family returned to search for it and they believe it was stolen.

Her daughter Laura Varley launched a secret fundraiser to raise the cash needed to replace the device.

She spoke to the Yorkshire Evening Post last month and, two days after the story was published, generous strangers helped her reach the target.

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Sandra's daughter Laura Varley, 28, launched a secret fundraiser to raise the money for a new device

The phone arrived last week - and Sandra burst into tears when Laura opened the package.

Laura, 28, said: "She couldn't believe there was a story written about her and she asked me to put out a big thank you to everyone who donated.

"It's restored her faith in people, knowing there's that many good people out there who are willing to help - people we don't even know."

Laura said her mum has regained her independence - she can now read letters, check her bank balance and leave the house without relying on her family.

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

The owner of taxi firm Wheels Private Hire donated £210 to the GoFundMe campaign, which got the fundraiser to the target.

"It has shocked me," Laura, of Seacroft, added.

"You hear about so many bad things and bad people, but people don’t talk about the good.

"Getting that target in a couple of days, it's amazing what people are willing to do for people they don't know.

"For every bad person, there’s always way more good - and we should hear about it.

"A huge thank you to everybody who donated. We'll never know how to make it up to them."