Aniridia Day – My Shining Success Story

Happy Aniridia Day! 🙂

Today we’re celebrating people’s achievements and ambitions with Aniridia, as part of the Shining Success campaign, for which I edited a promo video I’m very proud of. There are also Facebook and Twitter pages for the day, where people are sharing their stories, photos and videos to mark the occasion, so please do check them out.

It’s already bringing people together with aniridia who have never met before, and helping to spread a positive message of positivity, support, solidarity and hope for the future. And if you want to find aniridia support groups, the links on my Disability Links page may help.

So this post is my contribution for the day, talking about my own achievements and ambitions, as someone living with aniridia. It’s an adaptation of the transcript of my video for the occasion.

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Aniridia Day – June 21st – We Need You!

As you may know if you’ve followed me for a while, I have the rare eye condition Aniridia. It basically means I don’t have an iris in my eye, and as that would normally control the size of the pupil, it means I’m more sensitive to natural light and glare than normal people and find it harder to adjust in the dark. I also have nystagmus, which many people with aniridia also have, but I want to talk about aniridia specifically here.

I’ve written about Living With Aniridia before, and posted a video as well, so they should help to explain what it is, at least from my perspective. Plus there are links to organisations connected with Aniridia on my Disability Links page.

So this post relates to that, as it’s about the first ever Aniridia Day that is being held on Wednesday June 21. If you can share this information, or just something like the video, website, Facebook or Twitter pages I’m about to mention, in as many places as possible, it’d be very much appreciated! And please do RT the stuff I keep tweeting and sharing about it on my own Twitter feed as well.

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Meeting Elvis at the Museum & Marathon

Being visually impaired, one of the things I’m naturally keen to do is get to know other people with sight loss in London now that I’ve moved here. And I’ve already met a few such people individually, and have plans to meet others, so I’ve made a good start. But in this past week I took another important step by meeting up with a local social group for people with sight loss for the first time.

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The Great Escape

As I noted in my previous post, social isolation is very possible in a busy, vibrant city like London, strange as that may sound to some. When you’re new here and you don’t know anybody, all you see is people going about their everyday business, and it’s easy to just get lost in the crowd and do your own thing. And it is indeed wonderful to do things by yourself sometimes, especially when there are so many places to visit and explore in this wonderful city. But I certainly don’t want to be on my own all the time. And on top of that, being a homeworker, I don’t get to experience the social interaction that I used to in the office. Plus I’m visually impaired, which doesn’t necessarily help matters either.

So I knew I needed to avoid that trap, and not become isolated with just myself for company. This is a fresh start for me in many ways, and making new friends and having new experiences is the most important part of that, as far as I’m concerned. I’m escaping the old routines and starting afresh, so I want to make the most of it as best I can.

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All In A Day’s Work

I consider myself to be very fortunate to have retained a steady job for 12 years now. For many (far, far too many) disabled people, gaining employment is way more difficult that it needs to be, and attitudes still need to change in many areas. So I do count myself lucky, and I’ve worked hard to keep my position, by doing jobs promptly and to the best of my abilities, and earning the respect of the colleagues and customers that I interact with. And I do like the work, because of the people I share it with, the variety of tasks that I do each day, and the fact that I’ve learned a lot from it over my time there.

Moving to London, however, led me to assume that I would have to ditch that job and get a new one. Not necessarily easy, given that there are so many people in London also looking for work no doubt, coupled with the fact that I have a disability. But I would at least have a good deal of experience to build on and promote myself with. And maybe there would be better opportunities for training and a higher salary with a London-based job. So I was very prepared to go down that route. If it took a little while to find work, so be it. There would be no harm having a change, so it would be worth the effort. But as it turned out, that was one less thing to worry about.

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