As an Australian volunteer-led charity, Retina Australia funds world-leading research into treatments and cures for blindness caused by inherited retinal disease
My dad Arthur is a determined, fiercely independent, unassuming, kind and generous man. He has never been defined by his RP blindness nor seen it as a disability.
Diagnosed in his early 20s, he’d just assumed he was clumsy. He did his National Service, worked in a bank, and then worked as a Chartered Surveyor until he was in his 60s. He didn’t stop driving himself until around 40 years old.
By now he probably has less than 3 degrees of vision. But he is fitter, and more active than most 88 year olds that I can think of. Last week he walked 2 ½ miles over the fields and stiles in Cheshire with my brother. Most days he walks ½ mile to the supermarket to buy the groceries on his own.
In 2016 he travelled with my 84 year old stepmother to Russia. They spent three nights on the Trans Siberian Railway, stopping off along the way, and loving every minute. Recently he travelled alone across London on public transport to go to a funeral.
He only uses his cane when there are lots of pedestrians. He tells me when it is safe to cross the road.
My dad is my inspiration. He has never complained about his eyesight that I remember, and has never used it as an excuse not to do things. It may take him longer to accomplish what he wants to do, he may have many bruises on his shins, he may annoy people by bumping into them, but nothing has never stopped him.
His tenacity and love of life is outstanding. I aspire to be half the person he is.