Val from SeeAbility, one of our member charities, contacted us recently to tell us about one of their recent success stories.
We wanted to share it with you, as we think it is a touching example of how donations to the GLFB help transform visually impaired people’s lives.
“I want to tell you about a particular success a young woman called Chu Man has had. She has several eye conditions, which means she has an acute visual impairment and more recently she was diagnosed with cataracts.
She has no verbal communication but that doesn’t stop her from her enjoying the use of her other senses, through listening to music, eating out and spending time interacting with others.
When we first met Chu Man, she had used a wheelchair for the previous 10 years, but when our specialist Rehabilitation team assessed her they could find no physical reason why she had to use a wheelchair all the time.
Concerns about visual impairment are often misplaced, with safety being cited as a valid reason for people becoming unnecessarily reliant on a wheelchair as the only means of getting around.
That’s not the approach SeeAbility takes. Our team worked with Chu Man over a period of months to improve her strength and skills, breaking down the movement of walking so that each step, as it were, could be mastered.
The team also had to develop their communication skills to suit Chu Man so she could understand what they were asking her to do, and building her confidence so she felt able to carry out the instruction.
Chu Man learning to walk, one step at a time, with help from SeeAbility’s rehabilitation team.
Now Chu Man can spontaneously stand up, move and walk short distances – still with help, but as her balance improves, we believe that she will be able to walk further.
As she develops her range of movement she will be more in control of decisions about how she spends her time. This is a huge move towards greater independence.
Chu Man recently had eye surgery to remove a cataract which will bring further improvements and enjoyment to her life. The team has developed a Communication Passport for Chu Man, recording her gestures and how they should be interpreted, e.g. when Chu Man raises her hand and shakes it, it means she wants to walk.
Thank you so much for the part you play in helping people like Chu Man. It is an amazing success story and one that everyone at the GLFB is proud of.”