Cecil Williams, the blind man who was hit by a subway train in New York City, will get to keep his guide dog after donations poured in following the broadcasting of his story.
Both Williams and his dog, Orlando, were hit by the train on December 17, after the dog tried to stop Williams from going over the edge of a subway platform but Williams losing consciousness and falling over.
The dog saved my life,” Williams said, his voice breaking at times. He also was astonished by the help from emergency crews and bystanders on the platform.
Williams would like to keep Orlando, who will still be retired as a guide dog after turning 11 soon, as a pet, while getting another dog as a guide, but still has to try to figure out logistics and finances, he said.
Police said both Williams and the dog were taken to a hospital where they were expected to recover. Williams said he is not sure why he lost consciousness, but he is on insulin and other medications.
Williams, a Brooklyn resident, has been blind since 1995. He said Orlando will be 11 and retiring soon, but his health insurance wouldn’t cover the cost of a nonworking dog, so he was going to give him up.
However, once people heard Williams story, fundraising quickly began to enable Williams to keep Orlando. A campaign on gofundme has raised over $27,000. Another on indiegogo has raised almost $47,000 more.
“Since Cecil is unable to afford caring for Orlando Cecil will have to find a new home for him. Please help these two stay together by donating to this cause!” read the indiegogo campaign description, in part.
A backer said: “My heart goes out to Mr. Williams and Orlando. May they have many happy years ahead TOGETHER!”
Guiding Eyes for the Blind said it has stepped forward to handle fundraising inquiries, and that it would take the dog back to the family that raised it if Williams decides he’s unable to care for two dogs at once.
“We don’t know yet what Cecil will choose to do,” said Michelle Brier, a spokeswoman for the organization. “He’s in a tough place right now. … It’s an incredibly emotional, dramatic time.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.