For the first 18 years of my life I enjoyed a tiny bit of sight which enabled me to make out colours and shapes. At 14 I had unsuccessful eye surgery and later experienced haemorrhaging due to an accidental knock, and the little vision I had eventually faded away completely.
I was very fortunate to have been brought up in a Catholic family and made my first Communion at seven. I attended a special school for vision-impaired children and learned Braille.
Through the Eucharist and the gospel, I was aware at a young age of our Christian obligation to care for those in need and fight injustices as Jesus demonstrated in his day. There were times when I felt I was not doing much for others but I just couldn’t see how I could do much since losing the last of my sight.
For a couple of years I went through a very rough period and lost touch with the Church. However, I returned to the Eucharist and took up an interest in blind welfare and advocacy. Because some opportunities that came my way benefited me as much as it did for others it didn’t occur to me that this was God’s answer to my question about what I, a limited blind individual, could do for others.
Through serving with others on a number of committees and devoting time and expertise to a considerable number of enterprises, I, along with the others, achieved many improvements in the welfare and rights of people with disabilities.