Meet six-year-old Isaac.
Isaac likes buses, trains and riding his bike, and one day, he is going to design the world’s fastest airplane.
Isaac also happens to be vision impaired.
Isaac suffered significant sight loss at the age of 11 months as a result of a rare type of eye cancer called retinoblastoma. By the time he was diagnosed, Isaac’s cancer was so advanced that his sight couldn’t be saved.
Isaac’s mother Selam remembers feeling lost, lonely and scared when she was told that Isaac would lose his sight.
“I felt so afraid for his future,” she says. “I don’t think any parent should ever have to feel that way – like they don’t understand what their child is going through and what they still have to face.”
Selam found that connecting with other parents of blind children, including through her local RSBC Parent and Toddler group, helped enormously, by showing that blindness does not equal defeat.
Isaac is now a happy, outgoing and adventurous six-year-old, able to live a normal life despite his sight loss. He already has big ambitions for the future, and dreams of turning his love of vehicles and transport into a career as an aircraft designer.
“I want Isaac to be able to explore his world freely, and to feel that he can do anything his friends can do,” says Selam. “Of course I worry about him – particularly when he plays rough with his friends – but what mother doesn’t?! The important thing is that I no longer worry about his future being over just because he is blind.”
“I know parents who have had to Google everything their doctor told them about their child’s vision impairment because it wasn’t explained to them in a way they could understand. That’s why RSBC’s support services are so important; it’s about being there for a family from the moment their child is diagnosed in order to help stop their world from falling down around them”.
Isaac is one of 36,000 children and young adults living with sight loss in the UK.
But research shows that two thirds of people in the UK have never met a child or young person who has lost their sight.
This means that millions of people are also unaware that nine out of 10 blind or partially children won’t have a long term job when they grow up.
At RSBC, we believe that the risk of poverty and loneliness that comes with childhood sight loss cannot be tolerated any more.
We believe that children like Isaac have the same hopes and potential as any of us, and that they deserve to live a fulfilling life with the chance to get a job and find love, just like everyone else.
We also believe that the first step in creating a better life for blind children is to shine a spotlight on their lives and the challenges they face.
That’s where you come in.
Making childhood sight loss visible
Without visibility and acknowledgement, children like Isaac will face an uphill struggle to achieve their dreams.
By giving more people in the UK the chance to meet a blind child, you can help shine a spotlight on the realities of childhood sight loss, paving the way for a fairer, more inclusive future.