As a blogger I am often asked to work with charities and promote significant events. It is an important part of why I blog, but I have found over the years that I am best choosing the causes close to my experiences and heart and therefore I can really do them justice. Due to my own children’s health issues you will see me blogging about Hip dysplasia, hypermobility and hayfever a fair bit. However this week I am putting my support with Sight Savers. Losing my sight was something I had never considered until I went to University- yes I wear glasses (contact lenses now) but I have never had to worry about not seeing. Then I met Becky or rather I first met Annie.
I moved into my Halls of Residence and greeting me at my door was a black haired Labrador named Annie. Annie quickly got me acquainted with Becky as she came to find where her guide dog had wondered off to. It was the start of a very good friendship and in time I moved from Halls and lived in a rented house with Becky. Through Bec I learnt so much – oh and we have some stories to share too. Bec was amazing as a partially sighted student who moved hundreds of miles away from her family to do her degree, I learnt a great deal from Bec who never let her disability define her.
The night before my 20th birthday we were stumbling drunk from the Student Union with Annie faithfully guiding us home when we got to the road, Bec commanded sit and I sat. Laughing she pulled me up claiming she meant the dog not me! On other occasions I would wind Bec up as she made me a cup of coffee but spilled half of it bringing it to me on the sofa. One of the funniest stories I recall is that when we moved from one house to another the landlady rang me. In a hesistant voice she said she had a delicate matter and didn’t know what to do. I pushed for the details and she said that as they were doing a full clan up of the house we were moving out of they had found Bec’s spare glass eye in a drawer! I burst out laughing before suggesting she pop it into a jiffy bag and post it to her home address! I can still imagine the shock of opening a drawer and a blue eye staring back up at you!
However jokes aside blindness and being partially sighted is not a barrel of laughs. I’m sure Bec has struggled at times, I know she worried about having a career as we left Uni, I know having reduced mobility is time consuming and expensive. Taxi’s everywhere, needing employers to make changes so work can be accessed and although there are grants available for business I still think it takes a special kind off business or employers to take that on. I’m sure it would be easier to find a reason why the blind / partially sighted employee unsuitable for the position. I think we have along way yet to go before many disabilities are treated totally equally in the workplace and in society in general. Did you know…
80 per cent of all blindness could be prevented or cured. That’s over 31 million people, most of whom live in the poorest countries in the world who go blind unnecessarily. And with poverty being both a cause and effect of blindness, a cycle is created that can be hard for communities to break out of. SightSaverscan break this cycle with straightforward operations costing £8-£28 or annual doses of antibiotics costing 7p-35p per person. If you’re moved to give someone their sight please visit www.sightsavers.org.uk/donate.
I took my vision for granted until I met Bec and had not considered people my age and as children who had very limited sight. Sight Savers do amazing things especially in poverty driven areas. Regular readers will know that poverty is also something I am passionate about I want to see an end to poverty which is why I support the work that Sight Savers undertake. Bec is probably quite lucky that she is registered blind in the UK rather than a poor country. Oh and as for Bec she is now married, a radio presenter and on her third guide dog. The girl did great and I am so glad I spent time with her at Uni.