Jaceen spent 10 years grieving her own vision loss. Today she is a passionate advocate for the blind and vision impaired community, raising awareness so that others can access support sooner.

“I’ve been living with diabetic retinopathy for more than 13 years and after numerous falls, being fatigued and not feeling 100%, I was like yeah we need to get this sorted and I actively sought out services from Guide Dogs Queensland,” Jaceen said.

After seeing drastic improvements in her mental health and safety, Jaceen wanted to volunteer as a Guide Dogs ambassador so that she could help others feel confident in their community.

Jaceen sitting on a bench seat with her long white cane and a miniguide device

“There’s very little awareness about what Guide Dogs do aside from dogs. People don’t realise that there’s other services and adaptive techniques to gain independence and mobility,” Jaceen said.

As well as raising awareness, Jaceen also wants to visit schools and help educate the youngest members of the community on etiquette around people with vision impairments.

“My nine-year-old was really struggling with all the pointing and staring when we were out in public. I had to help her understand that having a cane isn’t a bad thing.” she said.

“We need to get the information out to different schools and age groups that it’s not a scary thing and curb their curiosity.”

As a Guide Dogs Queensland ambassador, Jaceen will have the chance to share her story and educate her community.

“It’s all about support and community. Cane users tend to stay indoors, but if someone sees me out and about with my cane, they know they can do it too.”

Jaceen lives in Gladstone with her family and is often approached by people seeking to understand more about the services available to people with a vision impairment.

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