Welwyn Garden City charity saves blind Hatfield mother’s life.

PUBLISHED: 17:00 01 February 2014

Support worker Dawn Bunting, chief exec Ron Pickford, support worker Vicky Palumbo, Tina Shaw

Support worker Dawn Bunting, chief exec Ron Pickford, support worker Vicky Palumbo, Tina Shaw


A blind mother from Hatfield has spoken of her gratitude to a Welwyn Garden City charity after it saved her life.

Diabetic Tina Shaw, 42, slipped into a potentially fatal coma from low blood sugar levels.

But fortunately, just at the crucial moment, she received a routine call from Vicky Palumbo, a support worker for the Hertfordshire Society for the Blind.

Vicky alerted paramedics, and collected Tina’s daughter from Onslow St Audrey’s School, using the teenager’s key to let waiting paramedics into Tina’s home in The Downs.

Vicky told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “The paramedics told us that if they hadn’t got there quickly, Tina’s daughter could have arrived home to find her dead on the sofa.”

Tina said: “I am so grateful. Vicky saved my life because she had taken the trouble to get to know me. She knew about my diabetes, and she knew which school to go to.

“If she had not known me so well, she would have just put the phone down, and anything could have happened.”

The drama unfolded on December 9.

Vicky lost her sight after complications during the birth of her daughter 18 years ago.

From its base in the Woodside Centre in The Commons, the society’s six members of staff use a team of 130 volunteers to maintain regular contact with 4,000 blind people across the county.

It runs social clubs, provides home visits and helps sufferers with a phone helpline and gadget demonstrations.

Tina, who is training to become a counsellor for the society, praised the charity’s 12-strong Welwyn Hatfield Sight Life club.

She said: “Losing your sight is so isolating. You never stop feeling nervous and scared.

“With Sight Life we go to the pub and do other normal things.

“It has put a smile on my face, and there is a point to life again.”

Vicky said: “Before I got this job, if I saw somebody with a white stick I hardly thought about it, but now I would rather lose both arms and legs than lose my sight.”

Blind people in need of help and potential volunteers can contact the society on 01707 324680.

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