How a guide dog changed this hero’s life
Newman’s Own donates all of its profits and royalties to charity, like the one that helped connect a wounded veteran with man’s best friend.
In January 2010, Staff Sergeant Michael Malarsie was on foot patrol in Afghanistan with 12 other members of his unit, when one of them stepped on an IED buried in the ground. It exploded, hitting him in the face.
Two weeks later, he woke up at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Malarsie recalls his father pushing him in a wheelchair to speak with a doctor who told him, “I’m sorry, we tried, but there’s nothing we can do. You’re going to be totally blind.”
The explosion destroyed his eyesight, but Malarsie, who was 22 at the time, realized how lucky he was to be alive. “The explosion changed my whole life perspective. I wasn’t going to let blindness slow me down,” he says.
“One of the first things I thought of was a guide dog,” Malarsie says, so he applied for one with Fidelco, a charitable organization in Connecticut and a leading provider of trained guide dogs.
One of those four-legged helpers costs about $45,000 — not exactly an affordable price for an Air Force veteran with a family. That’s where Newman’s Own came in—providing a grant that helped connect Malarsie with his guide dog.
On the one year anniversary of the explosion, Malarsie got Xxon, a young German shepherd. “Xxon has given me back the freedom, independence and confidence to do what I need to be able to do,” he says.
“I think when you hear about what Newman’s Own does on a broad spectrum, it’s hard to understand the impact that it has. It’s one thing to hear a dollar amount, but it’s a whole other thing when you hear the story of someone who’s personally been affected. My life has changed forever,” Malarsie says.
For over 30 years, Newman’s Own has helped support thousands of charitable causes and organizations, with close to half a billion dollars being donated since its founding in 1982. Every time you buy a Newman’s Own product, you start a journey toward improving someone’s life — someone like Michael Malarsie.