I lost my vision over the space of three weeks in 2011 when I was 30 years of age. I have Leber Optic Neuropathy disease which affects the retinal cells in my eye. I can see lines and illuminous yellow and blue colours. I used to be a successful painter and decorator but had close the business. I found it hard to adjust to my new life but NCBI was the lifeline I needed.
I attended the NCBI Training Centre for two years and did mobility training and the independent living skills so I can live confidently and safely by myself. Friends now just see me flying around my kitchen totally familiar and capable within my home. The little tricks I learnt then still help me today. Like before I cook something, I’m already thinking ahead how to prepare it, ensure counter tops are cleared, equipment and tea towels are ready etc.
Then I came to the NCBI Iona Centre and it is the best decision I ever made. I’m here two days a week so it structures my week. There is lots happening in the centre with a great energy in the place. So far, I have availed of most of the activities on offer. I enjoy the gym and participated in the Shapeshifters programme over a nine-week period. It was very competitive while also being exhausting and exhilarating. Trust and team building was a major part of it. At times we were running towards the wall with our sighted guide and encouraged to run faster! I’m also doing pottery and learning the guitar. Into the future, I want to join the Go Ball team and be part of the Blind Golf Club.
The NCBI has given me the confidence I need to seize and embrace new opportunities and not let my sight loss hold me back.