LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - This week through Pass the Cash, we met a man who refuses to give up even after, as he puts it, "losing his sight twice."
A nomination on wave3.com allowed us to be a part of Joe's journey to regain his independence again.
"My friend Joe at 11-months-old was diagnosed with eye cancer so he lost both of his eyes," Jenny told us.
Joe was blind before he was one-year-old but he had a great vision for his life as he grew. He studied hard at Ball State University and before graduating he got a seeing eye dog, Robin.
But she was more than that.
"He got a little sense of freedom," Jenny said.
Robin gave Joe a greater sense of independence, enhanced mobility, and love. Joe gave Robin a home filled with gratitude and love in return.
"She passed away in December of cancer," Jenny said. "He keeps up with a blog and he said on his blog cancer took his eyes once before and cancer took his sight again."
Joe went back to his white cane but his sense of safety and his heart were shattered.
"He got a call that he has been matched with a dog with the same company that gave him Robin," Jenny shared.
Another guide dog. With that chance comes at least two weeks off work. With no more vacation after Robin's cancer, and a short illness of his own, Joe could use a little help.
WAVE 3 News started with $300. And this week, we got an extra $100 from an anonymous donor. Plus an extra $80, from all kind of folks who like to help us Pass the Cash.
We were ready to surprise Joe with a total of $480.
Joe recently started working for the American Printing House for the Blind. He knew Jenny was stopping in. But he had no idea why she stopped in or that we were there too.
"So I'm not here just to visit you. Well I am, but I'm here to pass you the cash. And she's got company," Jenny told Joe.
It was a bittersweet moment. Robin was not a pet. She was part of his life and part of how he lived his life.
"We loved Robin and we know that you're getting a new dog so we wanna Pass the Cash to help you those few weeks you will be in Jersey," Jenny said.
It means a lot to Joe. He explained how much Robin meant too. He realizes it even more each time he steps out his door.
"Like I ran into a door at the Bats game I never knew was there," Joe said. "I actually crossed Westport Road two weeks ago with my cane. It was OK but definitely lost a lot of nerve in the last 8 years."
Doing things we all take for granted, Joe's eyes were Robin's eyes.
"I don't have lights on ever because I don't need them," Joe said.
No lights during evening hours for those of us who are sighted usually mean no one is home. Joe was home and Robin was by his side.
"She woke me up with a scratch on the shoulder. I felt cold air on my face. I thought that's weird," Joe said. "I realized someone was trying to crawl through the window. I got up and slam the window down and guy says 'Wrong house.'"
A few dollars means a few less problems as he and his new service dog learn to find their way together.
"I appreciate it," Joe said.
Since 2011, WAVE 3 News has given away thousands of dollars to worthy recipients in our Pass the Cash segment. Click here to tell us about a Kentuckiana family or individual who you believe deserves a special gift of $300. (Be sure you are registered on wave3.com.) You cannot nominate yourself or a family member.