Where to begin? In perfect honesty, no words will ever justify the character of the person I am writing about. This is not a request for funding for myself, nor is it an attempt to gain sympathy for my disability. It is merely an effort to help someone who can be credited for me being where I am today.
I am a 30 year old male living in South-Africa who lost his sight suddenly at the age of 19. Unfortunately, as an after effect of this, I lost my job, my independence and my purpose and I got divorced. Living with a disability in South-Africa, especially one of a visual nature, is to put it mildly, a disaster. The chances of employment is 3% on average, there is no real safe public transport that can be used and the infrastructure is not always on par to accommodate someone with a visual disability.
Now I am sure that many will think that this is nothing to write home about, many people go blind, and many get divorced, it’s part of everyday life, and I have to agree with you if this is your opinion, but was it not for the help, love and support of someone special, I would not have been where I am today. Here is the story of what this person, my sister, unselfishly did for me.
When I lost my sight and job, without any regard to her own financial well-being, she took me in and took care of me. It was a big shock for me to lose my sight at that age, life was just getting started and I had high goals set for growth, but instead dreams got shattered and lost my independence all at once. I was a wreck, a mess that did not want to know anything about trying or accepting that this is the life I have to get used to. I hated the world and took it out on everyone around me. No matter my actions, my sister never gave up hope and trying. When I found that I enjoy audio books, she went out of her way to find the authors I liked and got it for me. She listened and praised when I got something right on the guitar, always motivating me to work harder to get better at it. I can honestly say that the praises were just to motivate me, many years later and I can compare my playing skills to that of a 2 year old, I am completely hopeless and horrible. She made me believe that if I really wanted to, I can achieve anything that I wanted, and that losing your sight is no reason to give up on your dreams.
I had a big concern and that was how I will be able to support myself. I received a phone call out of the blue one day, it was my previous employer requesting a meeting with me, they want to find ways to get me back at work. My sister was so excited for me that she took me to the shops to buy a new pair of shoes, pants and a shirt in order for me to look my best. Had it not been for her tirelessly and patiently working with me during the months preceding this meeting, I would not have had the confidence and self-assurance that I had and I would have declined that meeting. I went, I got my old job back and that is where I am still employed to this day.
I got married in 2012, after she designed and made all the invites and favors to name a few, it was the perfect day. As she always believed and prayed for, my life was on track and I was happy, independent and being blind did not hold me back from having a good life with my new family. She gave a speech at the wedding. Her love and devotion to her little brother made this all possible. as luck would have it, I received an email one Monday at work from my wife, 4 months after the birth of our first child, that she wants a divorce. Devastated is an understatement as the birth of my son gave me my life’s purpose, to be the best possible dad to him that I can possibly be. I felt like I was ripped away from him and this. It took my sister 2 hours to obtain legal advice to protect me for leaving our marital house, 4 hours to get my dad to pick me up from work, take me to my flat to pack what I needed, and 7 hours later, her husband stopped ad in front of the door ready to pick me up. his words to me that day when he saw me was something I will never forget, let’s go home. All this was arranged by my sister. I did not have to, nor was I able to, arrange anything. Before I knew it, I was surrounded by people who cares and always supported me no matter what.
My divorce turned out to be a bit of a nasty affair, but guess who stood by me all the way? You guessed it, my sister. She took me to my son to spend time with him without fail. She did not need to do this at all but because she is who she is, she always makes sure that I don’t ever have to fear that I won’t be able to have that bond with my son that I always wanted. To this day, she makes sure that I spend time with my son every second weekend, not missing a weekend, supporting and helping me when he is there where I might need it.
She got diagnosed with a condition about 2 years ago, Fibromyalgia, and due to that, she is living in constant pain. The slightest bump leads to a world of pain and it takes days, sometimes weeks, to get a little bit better. Even with this, she to this day gets in the car every second weekend and takes me to pick up my son and takes me back every Sunday to drop him off. The distance I live away from him is 80 km. That is a long trip to do 4 times a weekend, but she never complains, always ready before I am to go. If it was not for her, I would not have the amazing bond I have with my son today, she made sure that I can be what I wanted to be, a dad that is present in my son’s life, and this is the most important thing to me, and she made that happen and that is the thing I will always be most grateful for.
She pushed me to turn my dreams into reality, she has been working on this for many years, since I went blind, and I enrolled at university to study what I always dreamed of studying part time. If there is something on the study material I do not understand, she will sit with me and explain it to me with patience and won’t let me leave until I understand it, and needless to say, she is the one who drives me to my exams, my biggest cheerleader and motivator.
I can go on for days of what she did, and still is doing for me, I can include all the other people she unselfishly helped over the years, I can go on for days and days of what her love and support means to me, but words don’t exist to give any justice for the type of person she is.
With her condition, she is the main breadwinner in the household, supporting her family, my mother and myself. Her unselfish nature and love for her family is what gave me a home and a place where I belong. She recently found out that the company she works for is in the process of merging with another and she will be the first in line to lose her job. She has been trying to find other employment but we are in difficult times in South-Africa where we have record high unemployment rates, recovering from this might take a long time. If she loses her income, we will all be stranded.
As an extra income, she has been making party favors, wedding invites and stuff of that nature on the side to supplement her income, but as it can be imagined, without the right equipment, it is an extreme challenge with the condition that she has, her hands are a hot spot and she can’t grip as she should be able to. She didn’t give up on her dream to be creative, and through it all, she kept at it.
As she might be losing her main income, and she is unable to do all that is required in the time frame to make it possible, she is in desperate need of equipment and machines to make it possible to build her part time company into a full time income. As it is now, she won’t be able to do it. This request is for whoever is reading this to help me, the person who is chasing his dreams thanks to her, make her dreams possible. If I had the means, I would buy everything she needs as she is the most deserving person, but unfortunately I can’t. As she did everything for me, I want to try and make her life a bit easier.
My request is for funding for the machines and equipment she needs that will allow her to fulfill her orders in a less painful, quicker time to not have to worry about what will happen to all of us should she lose her main income.
Thank you for reading this, and if you contributed, no words will be able to describe the gratitude I have for making it possible to give back to someone who has always been giving to everyone without regard to her own personal well-being.