"I am so grateful for the research that’s going on...it could change my children’s life"

Kelly was diagnosed with macular disease 29 years ago, when she was just eight years old. It runs in her family so she knew what it was, but it didn't have any impact on her at the time. 

Now, that has changed. 

“It had no impact on me at the time, as I just didn’t understand. I knew I had something wrong with my eyes but because I have always been able to see, it never bothered me – until a few years ago," she said.

“I have only been visually impaired for the last three years. It was only when I started to notice real differences that it started to affect me.  I just struggled with my central vision. I was trying to learn to knit and I couldn’t get the hang of it and other things just became more and more difficult, like cooking and making tea. I went back to the doctor and at the time I was having driving lessons. But, the doctor told me to stop my driving lessons and said I wouldn’t qualify for a license with my vision.

“It has a massive impact now, because I am visually impaired and I do have sight loss now. It affects nearly everything.

“It can be something stupid like cutting yourself when you’re chopping an onion. Something that should be a really normal task can jolt your whole mood. You think ‘I should be able to do that’. Just missing the bus or missing the train because you looked at your clock wrong. It’s a big emotional thing.

“A few years ago I decided to get my three boys tested, as I knew there was a chance they could have it. It was confirmed that my eldest has got it and my youngest has too – he was 18 months old when we found out.

“My eldest boy is eight and my youngest is four. They’re too young to be thinking about it but occasionally my eldest says he doesn’t think he will drive when he gets older in case his eyes get as bad as mine. It is really sad.

“I was devastated when we found out. It was heartbreaking because they all want to be pilots. Their dad’s a pilot and it’s the only job that they are definitely not going to be able to do. I am trying to be realistic with them without being negative but at the same time I am shutting their dreams down.

“I am so grateful for the research that’s going on It might not mean a difference to my life because my eyes are really bad but it could change my children’s life. It could mean that there’s something that could help them, or their children and they could go on and be a pilot like their grandad or drive a car, or be a bomb disposal expert – or something you really need your sight for. Science is just so amazing. There’s so much going on across the world.

"Please give what you can today, because it’s a race against time for my boys and all the other children like them. Thank you."