“Sam and Hayley” the doctor said softly, “please sit down, we need to talk about your baby.”

Nelson couple Hayley and Sam were blissfully 36 weeks pregnant with their first child when a routine check-up shattered their world. Scans revealed that their precious unborn daughter had suffered a brain haemorrhage.

When everything that matters, leaves you in tatters

Lottie spent 10 days in intensive care following the birth and during this time, Sam and Hayley’s paediatric neurologist explained that her brain haemorrhage meant she was likely to have severe loss of vision and other disabilities. Hayley described that conversation with the doctor as the hardest moment of their lives.

The reality is, demand for our services has never been higher and every week, the family of another beautiful child like Lottie comes to us for support with blindness or severe sight loss. We treasure your donations because they give us the ability to offer specialised practical and emotional support when it’s needed most.

By contributing a special gift today, you’re helping provide children like Lottie with the opportunity to live the life they choose.

Photo of Olly and Lottie
Olly and Lottie are two peas in a pod

Spirited and bold, Lottie is two and a half years old

Lottie has been diagnosed with cortical visual impairment (CVI), a neurological problem that affects the visual part of the brain. This means that Lottie’s eyes are in perfect condition. Beautiful and clear. But unfortunately, her brain has trouble processing what she sees.

When Hayley and Sam began to fear, Gary the counsellor was always there

To help Hayley and Sam cope with the many challenges they faced, Blind Foundation counsellor Gary spent an evening with them every couple of months. Nobody can express just how much these times meant, better than Hayley – and she says:

“We adore Gary. He’s awesome. We really look forward to the times we have with him. He comes after dinner and he’s just here to talk to us. You can say anything to him. We are so thankful for Gary.”

Your donation this Blind Week will help ensure counsellors like Gary are there for any New Zealander struggling with the impact of losing their sight.

Illustration of Humpty Dumpty

Lottie’s favourite pastime? Giggling along to a nursery rhyme…

One thing that helps Lottie feel safe is music and she has her very own playlist of songs and nursery rhymes. Lottie’s grandparents even bought her a special set of headphones, which is extremely helpful because the harmony of a rhyme is one of the things that helps keep Lottie happy.

What Lottie learns in her early years will set her up for life

Which is why it’s so important that Lottie has the opportunity to learn new skills with Alana, one of our Independent Living Specialists: “…understanding Lottie’s level of visual awareness has been the first step – helping her interact with her world by using other senses like touch, is incredibly important,” Alana shared.

As Lottie has grown, it’s become clear that her vision is slowly improving and that’s been a wonderful revelation for the family. Alana will now start working with Lottie to maximise the vision she’s developed, helping her become confident to reach for things that are outside of her immediate view.

Your donations mean everything to children like Lottie

Lottie will always need help and the more we’re able to assist her at such a young age, the more opportunities she’ll have in life. Please give generously this Blind Week because currently, we’re only able to reach one in three New Zealanders who need our help. Your support goes right where it’s needed most – helping those with sight loss develop the skills they need to live life without limits.