Tom’s story

Tom isn’t the type of man who asks for help lightly.

Born with only one good eye, he’s approached life with that special mix of Kiwi courage and optimism. It got him through the war and safely back home again to start a business and raise a family.

Even though he’s had his share of heartache, Tom will tell you it’s been a good life, lived with good humour. But when he suddenly lost the sight in his good eye soon after he turned 90 and his vision turned into a haze, Tom said he felt mortified and unable to think rationally.

Tom using the magnifierTom was referred to Blind Low Vision NZ and says:

“As soon as I contacted Blind Low Vision NZ for help they were brilliant. I’ve had people who are just absolutely dedicated. Honestly, they should get a medal. Really, they should!”

Tom really values Blind Low Vision NZ specialist staff who have been there for him right from the beginning. Tom says he doesn’t feel like he is facing his sight loss on his own:

“I have the confidence to face up to my changing world of darkness now that I have the dedication of an organisation that really cares.”

“They have looked after me, visited me and supplied with me different types of equipment to use.”

For a social person like Tom, being able to still get around with limited vision is particularly important:

“Blind Low Vision NZ gave me a walking stick. They put a little bit of tape at the end to let people know this chappy is semi-blind. And you know – it works really well.”

Tom and his scooterTom is still able to get about on his mobility scooter. With his deteriorating eyesight he wanted to make sure he was using it safely. Once again, thanks to people like you, we’ve been able to offer Tom advice and reassurance.

“One of Blind Low Vision NZ specialists, Jane, came up the road with me the other day. She said yes you are alright, but just take it a bit steady. She told me to slow down, reduce my speed and be careful. It was very nice to have her advice.”

Blind Low Vision NZ is at Tom’s side at home, too. From learning how to make the print bigger on his computer screen, to providing him with everything he needs to read his mail:

“They provided me with a very good magnifier. It has a light and you just push it across the print. It’s great because now I can read my mail again. It’s a brilliant thing.”

I am so appreciative of everything you make possible for people like Tom. Together, we help him stay active in his community and for this you should be incredibly proud.

Tom has served our country and seen the horrors of war, he has raised a wonderful family, and has worked hard all his life to provide for them.

Now, it’s time for Tom to enjoy some support of his own.

“Without Blind Low Vision NZ life would be a pit of darkness. It would be my problem on my shoulders and that would be it.

But now I have people who know all about blindness to share my problem with. They have studied it and they have learnt all about it….and that is Blind Low Vision NZ. There is no greater organisation.”

Thanks to the kindness of Blind Low Vision NZ supporters, we can turn eager puppies into devoted guide dogs. Or give someone like Tom back their independence with technology that helps them stay in touch with their world.

Tom Beale using the computer with a screen reader
Tom walking with the cane
Tom Beale playing outside
Tom Beale smiling to the camera

Since reaching out to Blind Low Vision NZ three years ago, Tom is making the most of life once again:

“Blind Low Vision NZ gave me the stamina and courage to carry on. They have the right gear, great advice and they’re wonderful people.

They give you a helping hand. They lift me up at times when I am down and they give me hope. I know I will never be alone. Blind Low Vision NZ always gives me hope!”