Christopher Ward Jr.’s reaction to seeing his mother’s face for the first time was something she’ll never forget.
Marquita Hackley was brought to tears when her 12-year-old son said, “I saw my mom, and she was very pretty.”
With the help of the new wearable technology, eSight, Ward, who was born blind due to optic nerve hypoplasia, or the underdevelopment of the optic nerve, was able to see with “unprecedented visual clarity.”
The boy and his mother traveled from Forest, Virginia, to Washington, D.C., to give it a try.
“The very first thing he did was turn to me and say, ‘Oh, Mommy! There you are!’” Hackley said.
And while she loved hearing her son compliment her appearance, “aside from pretty, just the fact that he could even see me meant the whole world to me.”
Although Ward has some vision, it's so little that he’s considered legally blind.
“He only has a little light perception in his left eye and very, very low vision in his right eye,” his 32-year-old mother explained. “Something has to be up in his face, almost touching for him to see it.”
The fifth grader wears glasses daily but they’re more for protection than the ability to see.
“He could lose the little sight he does have if he were to get hurt or hit on the face,” Hackley said.
After seeing his mom’s face, Ward was able to enjoy another first — he watched his favorite TV show, SpongeBob SquarePants.
Despite the awe-inspiring experience of Ward’s initial use of the eSight glasses, Hackley didn’t think she could make it a reality for her son since her insurance doesn’t cover the $15,000 price tag.
But since launching a YouCaring.com fundraising campaign on Wednesday, she was pleased to see more than $25,000 had been donated.
Now she hopes the new technology will help to change her son’s life by giving him the ability to be in regular classes in school with the other children and to learn how to read and write in print.
“He currently uses a Braille reader and writer to community through text,” Hackley said.
On the day he first tried eSight, Ward gave his approval by smiling widely and saying, “Pretty cool glasses, huh?”
(Photo: Image Source/Corbis)
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