This story about Patel, a man from London who started to lose his sight in 2012 touched a personal chord in me; I can relate on an intimate level. As someone living with a disability, I need help, period. I’m very independent and capable, but there are just moments where the situation calls for sighted assistance. Like Patel, I too have experienced people reacting to my disability in a negative manner.
I’ve been blind since birth. Born three months premature, I only weighed 1 pound 7 ounces. I had a hole in my heart doctors had to operate to close. Because of my health and size, I was kept in an incubator. My parents couldn’t hold me for some time. I was released from the hospital three months after I was born. During that time, my heart stopped a few times.
I grew up learning to navigate the world without sight. I’ve been fortunate to have had excellent teachers and instructors who showed me how to maintain my autonomy; I have had to learn how to ask for help. Every day is different. It presents new challenges. I live in a world that won’t adapt to my needs but where I must adjust to the environment around me. That’s not a complaint but the truth.
I feel for Patel and his situation. I’m sharing more about myself than ever before not as a means for seeking pity, but to open peoples eyes.
Patel experienced many worries common to those losing their vision. He worried how he’d retain his independence. He had the necessary support in his wife and guide dog, Kika, to help him through those rough patches. But he still had much to learn and adjust to.
Patel can get around the city and commute to and from work with the help of his Labrador retriever. Kika has indeed made navigating the world easier. It’s Patel’s norm. Patel noticed a disturbing trend while out and about with Kika. He wanted to capture on camera how people treated him when they saw him with her.
He asked for his wife’s help. So they attached a GoPro camera to Kika’s head. When she later reviewed the footage, Patel’s wife rushed to share it online.
Watch the video below; hopefully, it will give you insight on the difficulties someone with a disability faces the world and how easy it is to offer aid.