2011 brought about the day that changed everything for Mohammed. It was the tipping point for a series of unfortunate events in his life thereafter.
“I remember it well, that day.” The day Mohammed was told that he was soon to go blind. “Everyone with a visual impairment, remembers the day when they are diagnosed. How that diagnosis will change their life forever.”
That his life would change forever.
For Mohammed, life was normal before then. He was a working man for an automotive car company. His days filled with hard work, a dedication that came with raising a family. He took pride in what he did.
“Life was good and I was content with the way things were.”
However, as proud and satisfied as Mohammed was with his work, it was the first place that he started to experience the problems that came with losing his sight.
For the next couple of years, life was a blur for Mohammed. Having a family and all the responsibilities that came with that, he made the choice to keep working. Whether it was the right thing to do or not. He went into denial, refusing to really accept his diagnosis.
“I didn’t tell anyone at work. I was afraid, and frightened.”
Two years later, Mohammed is informed by his optician that he has a rare type of cataracts in his eyes that need further investigation, referring him to a hospital. The surgery he received was a failure as they inserted the incorrect lens, but to make it worse: “I was informed I never needed the surgery in the first place”.
With no other options available, Mohammed was left feeling hopeless.
“I realized that I couldn’t hide the loss of my sight any longer. And so, I decided to bite the bullet and inform my employers that I was registered Blind, and required help and support to remain in work.”
“To remain in the job that I had done for over 13 years.”
For Mohammed, any conceptualised idea of how bad things could really get, surfaced, because what happened next darkened his world that much more.
He hoped and prayed that his employer would be understanding and supportive of his condition.
Instead, for the next 7 years, Mohammed suffered and endured harassment, discrimination, victimisation and bullying of the likes that resulted in three employment tribunals.
“By this time, even my family became to busy to care or listen to what I was going through. I felt utterly alone and any value I had in life, in being alive, started to darken.”
Then, Mohammed received an unexpected call. He was tired and mentally broken. “A shell of a man is all that remained at this time. When I answered the phone, the voice on the other end said they were from Deaf Blind UK and asked what they could do to help.”
“All I could do was cry uncontrollably. The voice on the other end showed me a kindness that made me feel like I mattered and stayed on the line until I was ready to put the phone down.”
Mohammed journey has been difficult. One that has tested him both mentally and physically – “In the midst of all these challenges, there’s been one organisation that has stood by me, when no one else would. That organisation is Deafblind UK. I can’t even begin to describe the impact they have had on my life.”
Mohammed goes onto say:
“They’ve supported me through thick and thin, offering guidance, support and compassion when I needed it the most. Without their help, I don’t know where I would be today.
Deafblind UK means everything to me. They’re more than just a charity, they’re a family. A family that has always been there, supporting me through my darkest hours.
And so, I want to take this opportunity to thank Deafblind UK and all the funders who have supported them throughout the years. Your kindness and generosity have made a world of difference to people like me, who rely on the support of organisations like Deafblind UK.
As I sit here today, I can’t help but feel a sense of gratitude for everything that Deafblind UK has done for me. They’ve given me hope, they’ve given me a reason to keep fighting, and above all, they’ve given me a community that accepts me for who I am.
To anyone out there who is struggling with a disability or any other form of hardship, know that there are organisations like Deafblind UK out there that are willing to stand by you, no matter what.
So, if you’re ever feeling lost or alone, remember that there is always hope, and there are people out there who care.”