By Devin Sturge, Marketing & Communications Specialist
In his role as Lead, Community Education with the CNIB Foundation, Christopher Warner has been speaking at seniors’ homes, schools and health fairs about guide dogs and sharing his sight loss journey.
During his presentations, children will often ask: “Why are there no guide cats?" An amusing and practical question for a six-year-old, Christopher will tell them that cats get scared easily, so they could run up a nearby tree.
After recounting the conversation to a colleague one day, he asked if Christopher ever considered writing a children’s book. Having already published his first book Life’s Not Over, It Just Looks Different in 2016, writing Tommy Wants a Guide Dog was a no-brainer.
Tommy Wants a Guide Dog is a story about a young boy with sight loss who wants a guide dog but is too young to have one. Tommy has quite the imagination, so he begins thinking of other possible guide animals, including a cat, giraffe, or pig.
Entertaining for both children and adults, the book features illustrations by Cerridwen Sage Hicks. It reinforces the message that guide dogs are important, and it includes etiquette tips for interacting with a guide dog.
This year, to celebrate International Guide Dog Day on April 29, Christopher hosted a live reading of Tommy Wants a Guide Dog on the CNIB Foundation’s Facebook Page, reaching more than 3,000 Canadians.
Christopher is donating a portion of the proceeds to the CNIB Foundation.
“After losing my sight and becoming a client of CNIB, and because they’ve been so supportive of Tommy Wants a Guide Dog – like helping organize launch events and planning the Facebook Live reading – I wanted to be able to give back in some way,” says Christopher.
After suffering a brain injury from a stroke 15 years ago, Christopher was diagnosed with Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI), neurological damage that affects the visual parts of the brain. Essentially, Christopher’s brain is unable to process what is being given to him visually.
When asked what’s next for him, Christopher mentions he has a number of story ideas bouncing around.
“I’m a self-published author, which poses its own challenges,” he says. “But I love it. I love writing stories, working with an editor and illustrator, making printing decisions…the whole process. I don’t know which idea will come to fruition first, but there’s always something in the works.”