Deafblind UK member, Mick is no stranger to high-adrenaline fundraising challenges. Last year he completed a sky dive, raising funds for Guide Dogs UK in honour of his dutiful guide dog, Usher, and just a few months ago he raced down the world’s fastest zipwire at 100mph raising £1,100 for Deafblind UK.
On a sunny Sunday in September Mick took to the skies once again for Deafblind UK! This time soaring over the Lincolnshire countryside atop a vintage plane, raising a further £770 to help us to fund our life changing work across the UK.
Essex-based Mick began to lose his peripheral vision at the age of 25. He was referred to Moorfields Hospital in London, where he was diagnosed with optic nerve damage. Now, aged 63, he is blind in his right eye, photophobic (light-sensitive), and only has 1.5 metres of central vision in his left eye.
Mick attends our social groups in Essex, where he can get together with other people who are experiencing sight and hearing loss, running quizzes, using a screen reader to help him to read the questions, and enjoying days out together. Recently the group visited the Tower of London together and enjoyed a picnic in the park.
Thanks to the support of his lovely guide dog Usher, plus his wife Chris, whom he describes as his “rock”, Mick firmly believes he can achieve his dreams. “My goal is to support others, enjoy life and avoid obstacles!” says Mick.
Not everyone living with dual sensory loss is as active as Mick. For some people it can be a challenge just to leave the house, so the accessible social groups are the only opportunity they may get to meet with other people, particularly other people who understand what they are going through.
Deafblind UK runs social groups across the UK and recruit volunteer befrienders to visit, call or email people who are deafblind to reduce the social isolation that can come hand in hand with the condition. We also promote digital inclusion, showcasing the ways in which ordinary technology – such as laptops, smartphones or tablets – can help people with sight and hearing loss to regain their confidence and independence with built-in accessibility features or free apps. Our digital support officers will often visit our social groups to run workshops or visit members in smaller groups or one-on-one to find ways that technology, such as Mick’s screen reader, can help them to continue to live the lives they want. A life beyond dual sensory loss.