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Luke was born with bilateral retinoblastoma, cancer of the retinas in both eyes. Within the first year of his life, Luke had his right eye removed, and had chemotherapy, cryotherapy and thermotherapy to try and save his left eye. The treatment was fortunately successful, and Luke managed to retain a small amount of his vision. Although his vision was poor, he could read and get around without the use of mobility aids like a long cane/white stick. Luke was formally registered Severely Sight Impaired (blind) due to his lack of vision. This means that he could not see any letters on the eye chart, but could see how many fingers someone was holding up from three feet away. At the age of 10, Luke was told that he was in remission from the cancer, and from there, went from strength to strength. With support, he stayed in mainstream education, achieving excellent GCSE and A Level grades before going on to Durham University. After completing his degree, he decided he wanted to teach, to help those who were disadvantaged in some way to achieve as highly as they possibly could, regardless of their circumstances. In 2017, Luke started working as an RE teacher in Birmingham, and loved his job. He spent most of his time and energy making sure that he could be the best possible teacher to the students he was working with, making resources and attending courses on teaching. However, in March 2018, Luke noticed his already limited vision had worsened. Thinking it was eye strain from working, he rested his eye over the weekend in hopes that by Monday, his vision would be back to usual. However, over the weekend, his eyesight further worsened. He ended up being told to rush to the hospital because of how little vision he already had. After a few weeks of consultation, it turned out that Luke’s retina had begun to detach, and there was a large hole in the retina of his only eye. Luke underwent laser eye surgery to prevent the little sight he had left from deteriorating any further. Unfortunately, the damage was already done, so even though Luke’s eyesight wasn’t going to get worse any time soon, the vision that he had lost was permanent. From being able to count fingers, Luke could now only see movement, light and shapes, and had lost his ability to read. After consulting with his school, his union, and occupational health, it was decided that Luke could not continue his teaching career. He had to resign his job just a few months before receiving his teaching qualification. On top of this, because he no longer had money coming in, along with the fact that he was struggling to adjust to his new lower vision level, Luke had to give up his flat and independence in Birmingham to move back in with family in Stoke on Trent. Luke has now recovered from his laser eye surgery, which fortunately was as successful as it could have been. He has been proactive in looking at what’s next in his life. However, as a support worker told him, being blind is not a cheap hobby. Before his vision worsened, Luke loved to read and used technology as any sighted person would. He was independent enough to live alone, travel without trouble, and look after himself and his home. Luke lost the ability to do these things when he lost even more of his sight, and the technology and support that would help him regain these skills does not come cheap. We are asking for your support to provide Luke with the technologies that will allow him to get his life back. A screen reader to allow him to access his computer, a system that will read physical writing, such as letters, books, and menus, along with technologies to help him to cook, clean, and look after himself and his home independently. Luke also wants to learn to read and write braille, which will allow him a way of communicating through writing. Luke is incredibly positive about the future. He is determined to learn all the skills and techniques he needs to live as independently as he did before his further sight loss. Even though he can’t teach, he wants to use his knowledge and experience to help other people who have lost some or all their sight. With your help, and your contributions, Luke will be not only being able to live, but to thrive, and to help others to do the same. Thank you for your contribution.
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Aug 2, 2018
An amazing father all the best of wishes to your family.Keep smiling
Jul 28, 2018
Hope this small contribution helps - keep on going forward!
Jul 25, 2018
Best wishes Luke x
Jul 23, 2018
Hope your target is reached
Jul 21, 2018
All the best Luke
Jul 21, 2018
Bless you Damian and Luke very much xxxx
Jul 21, 2018
Positive thoughts with you all.Your humour will keep you all going. Love Brewster (BWH)
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