Jess Impiazzi has shared her dear mum’s incredible venture abroad after she found the perfect guide dog who helped to transform her life after going blind.
The actress and author, 32, faced immense hardship when she turned 17 after her mum Debbie, lost her eyesight in 2006 when she was diagnosed with Uveal Effusion Syndrome – a rare degenerative eye disease.
Former Celebrity Big Brother star Jess then gave up her dance school scholarship to become the primary caregiver to her beloved mum at the beginning of her diagnosis.
Now, 15-years-on, the reality TV star and actress has opened up about how her mother has gained so much independence and confidence thanks to her much-loved guide dog Casey – who instilled courage in Debbie to head off on her first solo trip without her eyesight.
Speaking exclusively to The Mirror, Jess told that Debbie discovered a new sense of independence when Casey came into her life.
“My mum is amazing. When she got her first guide dog, Casey, it completely transformed her life,” the star gushed.
“I saw such a difference in my mum when she got her first dog. She had completely lost all her independence but once they were introduced, her life did a complete 360.
“She even travelled to Scotland on her own – which was a huge step for her. She is so brave and she’s handled all that life has thrown at her so incredibly well. She is a trooper and we’re so close.”
Jess who is taking part in London Landmark’s Half Marathon on August 1st in support of Guide Dogs for The Blind also revealed that she’s honoured to be an ambassador for the cause, and to be able to use her platform to spread much-needed awareness.
“Finding the perfect guide dog made such a change in my mum’s life. I’m honoured to be able to spread awareness and shed light on such an important issue, and I feel like I’ve been given this platform for that reason.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without my reality TV past and I’m just glad I can help others like my mum who are dealing with all different kinds of stresses every day.”
Jess, who has been training hard for the upcoming marathon, opened her heart about the tough situation she found herself in when she learned her mum’s life-changing diagnosis.
After her dreams came true when she was accepted at the Italia Conti theatre school; her mum’s life took a turn for the worst.
Jess felt compelled to give up her place and become her mum’s full-time carer.
The star faced more tragedy when her young nephew, who had septicaemia and meningitis , tragically passed away the same year.
“I was very lost. All of this happened so fast and I didn’t really allow myself to register it or heal,” she recalled.
“Mum relationship took on a different dynamic. I became the caregiver and it was a lot to deal with for a 17-year-old. I didn’t give myself time to heal and I constantly felt as though I had to step up – I felt that way for a lot of my life and brought that mentality into a number of my relationships in later life.
“Me and mum have always been close, but I guess her losing her eyesight made us even closer in so many ways. I often refer to us as the Absolutely Fabulous mother-daughter duo,” the star giggled.
The London Landmarks Half Marathon is a 100% not for profit event, which is organised by baby charity Tommy’s to benefit themselves and many other good causes.
Around 12,500 runners are set to cross the start line on Sunday 1st August in this one-off summer spectacular which takes in London’s most iconic Landmarks.
It is hoped the event will raise in excess of £6 million for around 200 charities including Tommy’s and guide Dogs for the Blind.
For one year only, the London Landmarks Half Marathon will be re-themed to celebrate the landmark moments of how we came together as a nation during the Covid-19 pandemic, providing a moment for reflection and celebration.
Runners can expect a Clap for Carers Bridge, Zoom Quiz Corners and a very special Memory Mile, as well as taking in London’s most iconic landmarks on the route including Big Ben, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Gherkin, the Shard, the Tower of London and the London Eye.
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