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Digital Subscriptions > Women’s Running > November 2018 > “IF I CAN DO IT THEN ANYONE CAN”


Netty Stevens didn’t let going blind stop her from living her life. With the help of Sheena, her wonderful guide, she’s run two, super-tough marathons and found a new role encouraging others to enjoy running


I know that technically my life started when I was born. But I feel as if my current life started in November 2000, when I went to bed fully sighted but woke up blind,” says Netty Stevens, 52, from Nottinghamshire.

“I was just 34 when I lost sight in both eyes due to retinal detachment and my world fell apart. I went from being a confident and capable mum of five, to feeling that I couldn’t be a good mum to my sons or a good wife to my husband. I could no longer cook, shop, drive, cycle or ride my motorbike. And I couldn’t do the little things, such as make sure my sons looked presentable before they went to school. I felt I was a burden to my family and became depressed and scared as my self-esteem hit rock bottom and I was overwhelmed by feelings of worthlessness.

“The most significant challenge to starting a new way of life without sight was learning to do almost everything in a different way. The charity Guide Dogs gave me a golden retriever (Beattie, who’s now retired, but my new guide dog Koko is equally amazing), and it completely transformed my life. It meant I could go out whenever I wanted instead of waiting for others to take me.

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