"I'd stay at home to avoid talking to people, being unable to read newspapers and magazines made me feel so isolated and out-of touch. But now I can join in when friends talk because I've read the same articles. I feel like part of the world again." Dawson, aged 31.
Missing out on the everyday things that most people take for granted - like flicking through a magazine, or reading the current best-seller - can leave people like Dawson feeling out of touch, isolated, even often depressed.
Vision Australia's library service helps to close the information gap.
Your gift today will bring a world of information to the fingertips of people who are blind or have low vision.
Dawson struggled with the loss of his sight as a teenager. Being blind made him feel desperately lonely and so out of touch with the world around him.
"It's like when you are with a group of friends and you are the only one who doesn't get the joke."
When Dawson was 15 years old his life was shattered when he was told he had a rare auto-immune disease and it was incurable.
"I found my diagnosis impossible to accept. By the time I was 18 years old, I was completely blind in one eye. I couldn't even get around on my own so I lost my independence.
I felt like my life had little meaning. I spent what should have been the best years of my life at home, alone, just trying to pass the time."
By the time he was 20 years old, Dawson's remaining sight had disappeared. And on one Friday in 2003, it all became too much and he tried to end his life.
Then he connected with Vision Australia through the Library which literally changes the lives of people by providing access to the same information, news and entertainment as their sighted peers.
Sadly less than 5% of printed material is accessible to people who are blind or have low vision. The impact can be debilitating.
For people like Dawson information is the key to living a full and successful life, and achieving things he never dreamed were possible.
In 2004, Dawson completed his Higher School Certificate and went on to further study, writing his Masters' thesis on gaining employment for people with a disability.
"Through the Vision Australia library, I was able to download my university text books onto my reader device. The technology allowed me to search easily for the information I need.
On a personal level, I love being able to read 'Wheels', a magazine about cars. Now that I can read 'Wheels', I know what friends are talking about. I can form an opinion and join in on a conversation about the latest cars.
If the Vision Australia library was no longer available, I think I would feel that awful void even greater than before. Without the knowledge to join in on everything around me, I would lose all the confidence I have gained through accessing all that information."
Your donation today will help us keep people like Dawson connected to the world around them. Thank you so much.