To live in a perpetual and never ending darkness. That’s what it must feel to be blind. Can you imagine it? I know I can’t. I’m trying to imagine not seeing the world and everything in it, including my loved ones and a blurry feeling of loss overpowers me. It’s not how we’re supposed to live.
But that’s how Gene Purdie lived pretty much most of his life. Suffering from Stargardt’s disease, a condition which rendered him almost completely blind, Gene, none the less did his best to try and appreciate life as is. He was robbed of his sight, but he met the love of his life, by the name of Joy. They met, they fell for each other and they married shortly after. Their love then produced a son, which the couple named Lincoln.
Despite how happy Gene was to have a family, he still lamented the fact that he would never see them. Little did Gene know, that how things were about to change.
As all good things in his life, it all started with his wife. One day, as she was enjoying her favorite show (the Rachael Ray Show), Joy witnessed something extraordinary – a guest on the show, suffering from the same condition as Gene, was given the opportunity to see her family for the first time in a decade! A new technology was created (courtesy of eSight – virtually an unknown company at that point) that allowed visually impaired people to live a full life again. This new tech was in the form of sci-fi-looking glasses and once the blind woman on the show put them on, she was reborn.
Upon seeing this, Joy got overwhelmed with a wild mixture of happiness and hope. She quickly got herself a pen and put it to paper, in order to write what later proved to be the important letter in her entire life and sent it to that show.
The answer soon came and it was everything that Joy had hoped for. Gene, Lincoln and she were invited to New York, where they would appear on TV as special guests of the Rachael Ray show. If Joy was hopeful, imagine how Gene must have felt even before setting a foot on that stage.
Once he was seated in that chair, waiting for that eSight eye ware to placed on, Gene felt time slowing down. Seconds felt like hours. Minutes felt like forever.
And then, the big moment. Everybody in the audience got quiet, really quiet… then Gene moved his head and looked directly at his wife, smiled and said “She is so pretty”.
The public erupted in raw emotion. Cheers of happiness peaked through the thick applause. Tears of happiness were shed and recorder on camera. It’s what good television is made of.
As for Joy and Gene, they were having their own biggest moment. For almost two decades his mind was like a dry sponge and now was overflowing with colorful images. Joy was watching as her husband experienced all that, overwhelmed herself by all the new possibilities, that weren’t there a minute earlier.
Rachael Ray had one last surprise for the couple – in a surprisingly generous gesture, eSight have decided to gift Gene and Joy with revolutionary their eyeware (otherwise priced at $15,000)!
If anything is to be taken from this story, it’s this: hope matters. It gives life purpose, which then begets change. Gene could see it, without the use of his eyes. I hope that we can too.