“If it wasn’t for all the support that we’ve received we might still be in a very deep and dark place,” says mum Sharn.
She says the day she received the diagnosis about her daughter Maya’s condition was the worst day of her life. “‘Your daughter is blind’ were four words that changed my life forever. I heard them when Maya was just nine weeks old – it felt like someone had crushed me.
“I woke up as one person and went to bed as another.” But Sharn says two-year-old Maya and her family, who live in Shropshire, can face the future with hope and optimism because of the support of the Royal Society for Blind Children (RSBC).
The charity’s Families First service has provided emotional and practical support since Sharn met their local Family Practitioner in a hospital waiting room, just days after she found out Maya couldn’t see.
“Our Family Practitioner told me: ‘if you ever need somebody to talk to, we’re here for you’,” explains Sharn. Since then, they’ve provided a safe space where I can explore my feelings. She suggests play ideas and resources, and signposts me to useful services.”
“She’s shown me that there are no limits for Maya – just adaptations that can help her to achieve all the usual milestones any child would expect to achieve. I hope she’ll believe in herself enough to make her own choices, have a career and maybe one day have a family of her own.
“I hope she’ll show the world just how much you can achieve when you’re blind.” It’s all meant so much to Sharn and Maya that they’re telling their story in the RSBC Christmas Appeal to help the charity raise money and spread the word, so other families are able to receive the same much-needed support.
“I know that every blind child and their family deserves someone at their side to navigate what can be some really painful and challenging times,” says Sharn. “RSBC has provided us with a newfound vision for the future – a realisation that, although there will be hurdles, we can overcome them.”
“Without RSBC, we wouldn’t be as stable as a family or looking ahead to a bright and exciting future. Now I watch Maya every single day in complete and utter wonder. She is incredible and I truly have to pinch myself that she’s mine.”
For anyone who would like to help more families like Maya’s they are urged to get the support of an RSBC Family Practitioner, donations can be made to the charity’s Christmas Appeal at www.rsbc.org.uk/donate.