RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A visually impaired law student is reaching out for help after learning her guide dog needs major surgery.
Now friends, classmates, and the entire Campbell Law School Community are stepping up to help.
For the past four years, Meredith Ballard and Recchi have been inseparable. Meredith is legally blind; Recchi (pronounced Ricky) is her guide dog. She accompanies her to classes at Campbell Law School in Raleigh where the Black Lab-Bernese Mountain Dog mix has become a favorite among professors and fellow students.
“Recchi is a class mascot for sure,” said classmate Madison McLawhorn.
Recchi helps Meredith find an empty seat in class and safely navigate her way to school.
“Anywhere there are moving cars or traffic is probably the most dangerous area if you’re visually impaired,” said Meredith, adding that Recchi eases her concerns. “I know that she sees everything and is looking at everything and I don’t have to worry about it as much.”
Right now, though, Recchi is too sick to go to school. When the 6-year-old dog recently became lethargic and stopped eating, Meredith learned Ricky has a mass on her spleen. She needs surgery which, along with diagnostic procedures, is expected to cost about $7,000. Meredith started a GoFundMe page and reached her goal in less than 24 hours, thanks in large part to those at Campbell.
“It blows my mind the amount of kindness and generosity everyone has shown even in just the last day. It’s amazing to me,” said Meredith.
Professor Jim McLaughlin said he didn’t hesitate to donate.
“It’s a family. We care about each other and take care of each other when we can.”
They all want to see Recchi back in school by Meredith’s side.
If theGoFundMe site raises more money than needed for Recchi’s treatment, Meredith plans to donate it to Mira USA, the organization that provided her with the guide dog.