“I felt like the world had stopped and I was all alone and very scared.”Posted: Monday 16 September 2019
At the age of 13 Faith started noticing that she was struggling to see the board at the front of her classroom.
She said it felt as though just overnight things that were once clear and focussed were fuzzy and blurred.
She was a backstop in the school rounders’ team and kept missing balls, which resulted in a few nasty bruises.
It wasn’t long before her coach pulled her aside and asked when her last eye appointment was, but it had only been three months previous. After telling her mum about the conversation, she was soon whisked off to an emergency appointment.
While she was told something was wrong with her sight, it wasn’t until four years later that she received a correct diagnosis. At the age of 17 when most teenagers would be getting behind the wheel for the first time, Faith was told she would never be able to drive and experience that same freedom and independence as many of her friends.
She was also told that the condition would get worse as she got older and, most heart breaking of all, that there was no cure.
She said: “I felt like the world had stopped and I was all alone and very scared.”
Her dreams of becoming a chef seemed unachievable and she was angry that no one else seemed to understand what she was going through.
She said: “I worried if I wouldn’t be able to live a normal life, go to uni to become a chef, experience culture, play music live. I was so scared I'd miss out of living life and would have to sit at home because I could not see. I didn’t know what the point in life would be. ‘You can't experience if you can't see’ was my mind set for a little while.”
However, when she was researching her condition, a macular dystrophy called Stargardt Disease, Faith soon found there was a support group in her area run by the Macular Society.
“I couldn't believe it I wasn't alone,” she said. “All the information was amazing, tips on where to get a cane and advice and support for both me and my parents that we still use today.”
Talking about how her attitude shifted once she knew the condition wasn’t holding others back she said: “I went to uni passed with gusto and have lived an incredible life full of amazing experiences and culture have learnt a lot about eye heath and now my condition isn't holding me back, it's sending me forward to talk and share with people like me. Although my sight is worse it's now a part of me it’s who I am.”
Faith added: “It's so important to raise awareness of macular disease because I knew nothing before all this happened to me and all the people I know and have told have also spread the word and helped other people get diagnosed, before it gets too much. It can be a very lonely place when you are sight impaired, helping to raising awareness is key and the first step to getting help.”
The Macular Society offers free advice, information and support to anyone with a macular condition. Call us today on 0300 3030 111 or email email@example.com