Supporting Parents and Carers of children with a Visual Impairment
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Am I Inspirational?

In her first blog post for LOOK, our Project Worker, Holly Tuke, discusses whether she sees herself as being inspirational. Holly is blind due to a condition called Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), and knows first hand what life is like as a young person with sight loss.

I’ve often been called an “inspiration”, and when that happens I feel humbled. But to be completely honest, I don’t think I am inspirational at all, I’m just an average blind girl who is trying to get to where she wants to be in life, and, along the way, achieve her goals. I stuck to these goals when I went through mainstream school. It was tough at times, and I didn’t give up without a fight when things went wrong, which they often did. But that’s just the person I am. I’m now in my final few months of university. I believe having a degree will present me with better life opportunities and help me find a good job. I want to do well in life and make my family proud. I am currently balancing my university work with my part-time job with LOOK, and other commitments too, but I don’t think any of these makes me particularly, ’inspirational’. I do these things because I enjoy them, but also to achieve the best I can in the future and to improve my life chances.

Picture of Holly

If anyone wants to call me inspirational then I am honoured. Personally, I think there are far more inspirational people than me, individuals who have, for example, saved people’s lives and have a positive attitude about everything.
The word ‘inspirational’ can be a funny one. I know a lot of disabled people absolutely hate being labelled with it. They don’t understand why they’re perceived to be inspirational when they are just trying to live normal lives. But the truth is, non-disabled people will never fully understand what it’s like to have a disability and, in all likelihood, never will.

I’m at a point in my life where I am happy with the person I am, I know what I want to achieve and where I want to get to, I know my strengths and weaknesses and I like to think I am a good, positive and caring person.
I’ve done a lot of charity work and volunteering over the last few years and recently started my first job as a Project Worker for LOOK. It’s just the sort of position I’ve always wanted. I believe that I am not only gaining experience for my future career but I am also helping others. I am keen to help others in the same situation as me and facing similar struggles to me, because I know how hard it can be to live with a disability every single day. I know how hard it can be when all you want is to see the beauty in this world but you can’t. I know how isolated it can make you feel. I know what it’s like to constantly fight for equality. But I also know the beauty having a disability can have. I believe that having a visual impairment has made me a stronger person, it’s most certainly made me who I am today. Would I be doing what I am doing now if I didn’t have a disability? I don’t know, but if you look beyond society’s perceptions, having a disability isn’t all bad. If you think about it hard enough, the positives can actually outweigh the negatives.

I’ve been blogging for over two years now and my blog, ‘Life of a Blind Girl’ is going places I never thought it would. I started blogging in the hope to raise awareness of disability and to help others that might need a bit of support. That has been the aim of my blog and blogging for LOOK has helped me reach that goal even more. Whether I help one person or 200, I don’t mind. Helping others, passing on my advice and providing people with some support or motivation is so important.
Blogging has also given me the chance to make new friends, some of whom are blind and visually impaired like myself.
If anyone is interested in starting a blog or writing a guest blog post for LOOK then I would encourage you to do so, it’s so important to get your voice heard. Blogging is one of the best decisions that I have made.

When I graduate from university I want to continue blogging and working for LOOK or within the sight loss sector to support as many young vision impaired people as I can. I want them to know that having a disability doesn’t have to be a barrier. Does this make me inspirational? I’ll let you decide.
If you enjoyed Holly’s post then head over to our useful links page where you can check out her blog!

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