Perata Atutahi, 32, Te Kuiti, loves being part of the Blind Low Vision NZ whanau.

“Blind Low Vision NZ has had a huge impact on my journey and I’m truly blessed to be a part of such an awesome, caring and loving whanau. I don’t know where I would be without all you wonderful people.”

She has learnt strategies and received emotional support to empower her to live the life she chooses with sight loss.

Her vision loss story is powerful.

Nearly 18 months after undergoing surgery to improve her vision, Perata woke up with a hole in her eye.

She was rushed to hospital and after specialist medical advice, one eye was removed with the vision in the other severely restricted.

Perata applied for ACC and although historically Blind Low Vision NZ would have waited for the claim to be approved before providing service, it has updated its policy, and rallied to ensure Parata received the support and advice she needed.

Parata’s first contact with Blind Low Vision NZ was as a fundraiser. As a keen baker she decided to sign up for our national Bikkie Day campaign, to raise critical funds to help others across New Zealand receive the care they need.

Using the Bikkie Day fundraising platform Parata was able to share her vision loss story in a positive way with friends and family, and give back to the blind, deafblind and low vision community.

As a mum of three children, Parata and her husband faced financial difficulties after surgery. Her husband took leave from his job to help her recover, but still Parata thought of others wanting to support those in a similar situation.

The Fundraising team took the initiative and alerted the Blind Low Vision NZ Service Delivery team to Parata’s case. Her service began with adapting the kitchen to be able to cook with sight loss, and she began learning how to use a white cane with rehabilitation instructor Maddie Martinez.

“Maddie explained everything really well. While confronting, I wanted to head out eventually with confidence. Independence is important to me,” says Parata.

Pareta also had the support of a counsellor, and the experts from Blind Low Vision NZ’s adaptive technology team.

“While everything to me is new to learn and overwhelming at times, the staff I have met so far are really passionate about their work.

“I’m really excited to learn how to get the most out of my phone, reading emails and navigating the internet.”

If you or someone you know needs practical and emotional support with their sight loss, contact us on 0800 24 33 33 or email info@blindlowvision.org.nz. Find out more about our service.