It was almost a year ago, early in July of 2017, when we reached out to the public and asked our friends in the community and at the SCV Signal Newspaper to help one of our AMS Family members – our driver and in-house messenger, Gene.
Gene’s daughter Natasha had lost her eyesight at age twelve due to a rare condition called Stargardt’s disease. She lost all central vision and was left with limited peripheral sight. At that young age she was informed that there is no cure and that her vision would decline further. But even as she moved on, there were advancements in technology being created that would change her life.
Several years later Natasha was told that there is now an ‘eyeglass type’ of device that would allow her to see using a high-speed, high-definition camera. She qualified medically for the device and even wore it for a brief trial. During the trial it was a thrill for her to see people’s faces, look at pictures… all of the things we take for granted. Natasha wanted and needed those glasses.
She started raise the money to buy them through a company called “E Sight”. This was when AMS became aware of her efforts, through her father Gene. We undertook to spread the word of her fundraising campaign and people responded very generously. But the cost of the glasses was high. When the donations slowed and seemingly stopped, she was less than halfway to the goal.
There followed a time of true perseverance searching for solutions with the eSight company. Finally, when hope was nearly lost, Natasha received a surprise. “Back in March I sent one last email explaining all that I had done to fundraise and how disappointed I was with their progress. I was surprised to get an email back almost immediately. Apparently eSight had been trying to come up with a solution to help me for a while without telling me. The email said they would take what I had raised so far and I’d be given a refurbished pair. I agreed, and received my glasses maybe a week later!”
In her email to AMS, Natasha described how this gift of sight has changed her life:
“I use them everyday for everything. I had to be trained to use them which I did through video conference with another eSight user. It took two weeks to fully adjust to using them all the time. The battery lasts for about eight hours. It’s incredible being able to just read my own mail or decide what I want at a restaurant all on my own. It’s the little things like that that make my day so much better and easier.”
Natasha goes on to say, “Since your last article, I married the man of my dreams who also works with my dad. Patrick and I are expecting our first child, Zayne, and he is due to arrive July 6th. All I want is to read to him and now I can. I won’t have to worry about the things I can’t see to keep him safe. With your help and everyone who donated I’ll be able to care for my son like every other parent and that’s a gift I am truly so grateful for. Thank you so much for all you’ve done for me and my family. Words cannot express how beautiful this new world really is for me.”
Thank You from AMS to all who played a part in this wonderful outcome.