Kimberly Morrow was born blind due to retinopathy of prematurity. She had a very ordinary childhood, filled with roller skating, playing outside, scouts and slumber parties. Kimberly received her first guide dog in 1991; when she later began graduate school at the University of Kansas, she was grateful to have a guide dog to make navigating the large campus less intimidating.
Kimberly’s first dog made an immeasurable difference in her mindset and sense of freedom: “I am treated with much more respect and dignity when traveling gracefully, confidently and independently with my guide dog by my side,” she said.
Four Guiding Eyes dogs and over 20 years later, Kimberly maintains a strong tie to Guiding Eyes. In October 2012, she and new guide dog Marli completed the Action program, an abbreviated, customized program for experienced guide dog users. Kimberly had 10 days of one-on-one training with a senior instructor at the Yorktown Training Center, with five days of individual follow-up in her Kansas City home area.
Kimberly is currently the Communications Coordinator at Unity Village, a large Missouri non-profit, and freelances weekends as a Certified Teacher of the Blind and Visually Impaired. “Few things in life mean more to me than to be a taxpaying, participating member of society.” She largely attributes her ability to work to her Guiding Eyes dogs. Unfamiliar locations and obstacles in her path are not a source of fear as they were when she navigated with a cane.
Always on the go, she is an accomplished musician, singer, knitter, gardener and a member of the Lion’s Club and Toastmasters. As her constant companion, Marli deftly navigates through rows of hammered dulcimers at the Prairie Dulcimer Club and up to the podium at Toastmasters’ meetings.
Kimberly Morrow leads a full, active life which she shares with Marli, her retired guide dog, Fern, and her loving, supportive family who lives nearby. She has given up rolling skating, but you might find her on a pleasant spring evening doing something she loves just as well: taking a long, leisurely stroll through her neighborhood with Marli.
Kimberly’s story is excerpted from the Pathfinder newsletter. Guiding Eyes’ Pathfinder society honors the special people who have remembered our organization in their estate plans.