Saturday, 29 January 2022

We are the World Blogfest # 55 – Someone who doesn't want their eyesight back …


I find it extraordinary how people who lose one of their senses, or are injured, seem to manage to cope by learning a new skill, which also requires many new sub-skills to be learnt.

Chris at work

Here Chris Fisher, who was an auto technician, woke up one day with blurry eyesight, then within weeks was blind. Very frightening.



Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic disease, which, it is estimated, has infected half of the world's population – and is caught from animal faeces or infected meat … but in adults usually causes no obvious symptoms – sadly Chris was not one of them.



Chris with a piece of his art

He really needed help to adjust and took bereavement counselling with the Royal Institute of Blind People – who have a very supportive network of volunteers helping those who suffer sight impairment.



He, understandably was very distressed, as he wasn't able to see his loved ones, he couldn't work anymore, nor pursue his hobbies – motor-cycling, learning to fly, while had a huge love of horror films – thus had a good imagination and creative mind.


Chris with one of his autistic students


This originality led him to woodturning where he is now the only totally blind, fully professional, accredited wood turner …




He creates art from sourced wood as a coping mechanism for his anxiety, yet while at the lathe he has to live in the moment … he cannot be complacent for one second …



Incredibly he taught himself by listening to YouTube for over 600 hours (about 25 days worth!) …



Wood Turning in Indonesia
It's a gift to be able to help others … He loves sharing his story and inspiring others … now he is working with a special needs charity helping children with autism … helping them and giving them confidence in the world they habit …



How appropriate our #WATWB tag lines are for Chris and fellow sufferers ...



We are the World Blogfest

In Darkness, Be Light


Here's the BBC video where I picked this inspiring story from ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

61 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

Colour me amazed. And impressed. And humbled. I am endlessly grateful to you and others for showing and sharing the light. Thank you.

Botanist said...

That is a very distressing situation to find yourself in. Regardless of everyday practicalities, I can't imagine not being able to draw or paint any longer.

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

Wow, I can't imagine what that would be like

Liz A. said...

That's a great story.

Anabel Marsh said...

He is inspiring and ingenious in equal measure.

Hels said...

I am glad the man organised his life to be productive again. After all, he said himself he hadn't been able to see his loved ones, couldn't work, couldn't enjoy his hobbies and couldn't indulge his passion for horror films.

But for him to identify as someone who didn't want his eyesight back, ever, is heartbreaking. Even a small amount of usable vision would be a blessing.

DMS said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing this inspirational story with us. Wishing Chris all the best!
~Jess

retirementreflections said...

Hi, Hilary - I always love your WATWB posts (actually, I first met you that way). Thank you for the evening inspiration!

Sue Bursztynski said...

What an inspiring story! I would be terrified to go blind. I do have audiobooks and a couple of apps to write with, but how do you find which is which? And this man found an entirely new career!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ EC – I love finding these extraordinary people, who have overcome so much …

@ Ian – it must be really shocking to so suddenly become blind … just getting about would make my life difficult …

@ Jo-Anne – thank you …

@ Liz – thank you …

@ Anabel – I so agree: inspiring and ingenious …

@ Hels – it must have been a real challenge for Chris and his family … but volunteers are just extraordinary too. Yet he could 'see' what he wanted to do … and had enough guts to master the techniques …

@ Jess – I was just drawn to the story and to his mental abilities to cope and overcome …

@ Sue – Chris' story makes us think doesn't it … I have used audio books … but then my eyes are working. It's the possibilities that he could imagine and then realise …

Thanks so much to you all – his ability to cope makes us think … and I'm sure if we had to deal with a challenge such as this – we'd be so thankful for the volunteers who'd be helping us … Hilary

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Many years ago I did a good deal of volunteer work with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind and in fact served a couple of terms on the Ontario Board of Management, and I can attest to the incredible resilience and ability of some blind people to cope with what seems to us an insurmountable handicap. I can understand (in whatever limited fashion a sighted person can put themselves in the shoes of a blind person) Chris' outlook because I have known similar people, talented and highly motivated. As always, Hilary, you bring us the unusual and we are in your debt. Hugs from Ontario, David

Keith's Ramblings said...

Of all the senses to lose this must be the most debilitating, for most anyhow. Not only did he not give in to it, but he also turned it around to prove to others that life can go on.

Jacqui Murray said...

As usual, Hilary, you seem to find exactly that event that speaks to me. As you know, one of my ancient characters is going blind. I've read everything possible about that occurring for people (one almost-blind woman has an amazing YouTube channel sharing everything). I am going to see what else I can find on this gentleman.

Deborah Weber said...

What a fabulous story - I'm so glad you shared this with us. I have a sense of how difficult it must be to lose one's sight, and have such compassion for those suffering. My dad had macular degeneration that seriously impacted his life with his almost complete loss of vision. What an inspiration Chris' story is.

Unknown said...

THANK you for sharing this, Hilary. What an amazing man.

Jemima Pett said...

Great role model. Thanks for sharing it.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

What an inspiring story! Amazing how he worked through such a tremendous set-back. Thanks for sharing this with us, Hilary.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ David – oh yes I remember you mentioned that before with the cookbook blind man. It must have been a huge learning experience – fascinating one too … so can understand you appreciating Chris' outlook and approach to his challenge. Thanks for enlightening us a little more … always good to have the interaction …

@ Keith – I so agree – we're lucky we have our senses, yet it's good to know that we, as humans, can adapt. Chris is inspirational …

@ Jacqui – that's great … I hadn't realised you'd decided to go down the route for one of your characters into blindness … so thanks for spending time with Chris and seeing how he coped … I look forward to reading this excerpt and the book in due course …

@ Deborah – yes I experienced it as a neice when I was looking after my uncle – he was suffering in the same way your father sadly did … it's so difficult to share with them their deteriorating sight … but am happy Chris' story is inspirational to you …

@ Unknown - I can't guess who you are! - but appreciate you being here and commenting …

@ Jemima – yes … I'm always amazed how much people can overcome and yes, they are role models for all who encounter them …

@ Elizabeth – I think the Institutes set up to help people with major challenges are quite extraordinary – yet it also means the person who is suffering has great mental strength to work their way through – as you mention.

Thanks for visiting and being here – also realising how difficulties can be overcome – helping us all understand a little more. Cheers Hilary

Joanne said...

I greatly admire folks with the strength to move beyond their loss (sight, hearing, limbs) and go on to learn, create, participate, etc. People are resilient. It makes one question oneself - would I be a whiner? or would I persevere? Strong post for quite a man.

Nilanjana Bose said...

That kind of pure courage is beyond remarkable! I can't even imagine what it must be like.

Birgit said...

This man is amazing and inspiring. He could do motivational talks.

Sandra Cox said...

This is such an uplifting story. Losing one's eyesight would be such a horror. I'm so glad he rose above it and is thriving.

Vallypee said...

This is an amazing story, Hilary. Both sad and inspiring. What he's proved is you can pretty much to anything you really set your mind to, even against all possible odds. My admiration for him knows no bounds.

Mark said...

Amazing. I'd actually like to have more senses than I currently have, so it strikes me as odd someone wouldn't want one of their senses, but to each their own.

C. D. Gallant-King said...

That's amazing. I can't do wood turning and I have two working eyes. :/

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Thank you for this inspiring post, Hilary. It's a wonderful story and so encouraging.

Lynda Dietz said...

What an incredible story! Some people just love to give to others, and it sounds like even losing his sight didn't stop him.

BWitzenhausen said...

Wow,so incredibly impressive. My Dad had lost his sight late in life and I witnessed how difficult it was for him to move forward. So impressed with Chris's resilience. Thanks so much for sharing this and for being a part of #WATWB.

Bish Denham said...

Oh my. What an incredible story! I hope he continues to be an inspiration to many, many people.

Jean Davis said...

What an amazing story! That's great that not only was he able to find a way to cope for himself but can now help others.

cleemckenzie said...

I was blown away by the story of this man. Not a smidgen of self-pity there! Thank you for telling it here.

Sandra Cox said...

His art work is amazing.
YOU take special care.

Patsy said...

It must have been so frightening to lose his sight, especially with it being so quick and so unexpected. It's an awful thing to happen, but as you say it's amazing how well some people cope with such situations.

diedre Knight said...

What a wonderful story, Hilary! Chris is such an inspiration. Thanks for sharing his unique - and brilliant - response to such a challenging plight.
It seems we never realize our inner strength until we need it.
Have a lovely February!

Mary J Melange said...

It is disabled people like Chris who keep me grounded in the realization that there is so much we can do no matter our situation. Chris reminds me to not whine about little things and be grateful for what I have. Kudos to Chris for finding a passion in his blindness. Thanks for sharing, Hilary!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Joanne – I do too … anyone who's overcome to live life to the full, even there's an impediment – as you say people are extraordinarily resilient. I'd hope I wouldn't be a whiner … and hope I'd build something for others, and thus for me …

@ Nila – I certainly can't imagine suffering and then overcoming … as you say pure courage …

@ Birgit – Chris is extraordinary isn't he … especially for the charity …

@ Sandra – he appears to be thriving and out helping others …

@ Val – thank you … yes sad and inspiring – yet I believe we can do things over and beyond should the need arise – and yes admiration to him …

@ Mark – Chris lost his sight and was able to adapt … so he had no choice – but often people who lose one of their senses actually would hate to have to start over again …

@ CD – thanks … I can't do auto tuning, let alone wood turning – I know we're fortunate …

@ Joylene – thanks … I'm glad you felt inspired re the story line here … it is encouraging too ...

@ Lynda – yes he is giving back to society and inspiring the kids at the charity … it is incredible …

@ Belinda – thank you … and from your experience with your father losing his sight you understand. I definitely was impressed with Chris - just amazing to see the video. I'm happy to be a part of #WATWB …

@ Bish – thank you … he seems to be settled and living his inspirational life with his family … I'm pleased to say …

@ Jean – you've got it … he's coped and now he's helping others, especially the children …

@ Lee – I'm sure initially he had self-pity … but not with the result … he went through depression – so understands that angle too …

@ Sandra – I loved the art he's created …

@ Patsy – it must have been a huge shock initially – but he obviously got the guidance he needed very quickly … thankfully …

@ Diedre – thank you – Chris is such an inspiration … as you say. So glad you enjoyed learning about him – and I think you're right we don't realise our strength …

@ Mary – I know one realises how lucky we are … and that occasionally (preferably all the time) we need to remember that. Exactly – we can't whine about the little things in life – and yes kudos to Chris for finding a passion arising out of his blindness.

Thanks everyone – so glad you all appreciated this #WATWB post – Chris is an amazing man … cheers everyone … Hilary

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Oh my gosh, Chris has such an encouraging story. I love this.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

That is one of the most inspiring stories I've ever heard. And how amazing his accomplishments and then his generosity in helping others.

J Lenni Dorner said...

Half the population? Like... almost 4 billion people? And we're not DOING something more about it??? Wow.

That is an amazing story. I'm glad he is able to find such a creative outlet.

I was under the weather earlier this week (not the C👾vid, don't worry), but I'm much improved now.
I've been scheduling debut author interviews at Operation Awesome. If you know one, please tell them to reach out to me.
Over at the a-to-z challenge, plans are hatching for April 2022, including a big event this month (starts Feb 4).
Plus, WEP has the "All You Need is Love" flash fiction challenge on February 16 - 18.
Quote for February: “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” -John Bunyan

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Lynda - amazing isn't he - and yes so encouraging for us all ...

@ Susan - he's an inspiration ... coping with the suddenness of losing his sight, overcoming it, and as you say then 'his generosity in helping others' ... brilliant chap.

@ JL - yes - Toxoplasmosis is a particularly nasty disease infecting much of the world. Chris really has turned his life around ... and now is inspiring many ...

Thanks to you three for visiting ... great to have your comments. All the best - Hilary

Deniz Bevan said...

Wow, what an inspiring story. Such a brave man. My vision is quite bad and I worry about losing my eyesight -- I hope I could be as brave!

H.R. Sinclair said...

Wow! That's incredible and amazing. People can be so strong, so resilient.

Sandra Cox said...

In Darkness Be Light is certainly appropriate.
YOU take special care.

Michael Di Gesu said...

This is one of my fears...to lose one's sight. I would TOTALLY FREAK! But what an amazing person to forgo his trauma and learn a craft! Then, sharing his ability to help disabled kids. AMAZING!

Damyanti Biswas said...

What an inspirational story--so lovely to see you continue to post for WATWB, Hilary. Sending you hugs.

Lisa said...

Wow, what an amazing and inspiring life he is living. Not just a story, reminding us not to take our senses for granted. Thanks for sharing Chris with us Hilary.

Victoria Marie Lees said...

Fascinating, Hilary. I've never heard of this eye problem. Chris is totally amazing. I know a young lady who's been blind since birth. Her blindness has not stopped her from becoming a teacher. I had the privilege to help her through the school system in my neighborhood.

Thank you, once again, for a very informative post. Have a beautiful weekend!

Shannon Lawrence said...

What a wonderful, inspiring story. Thank you for sharing it!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Deniz - thank you ... Chris is certainly inspirational. We're lucky living in the age we do - when there are so many organisations and volunteers out there to help us, when the need comes around ...

@ Holly - I agree - people are very resilient and can be so strong - his family must be really helpful ... yet he's out there inspiring others ...

@ Sandra - in this post - that tag-line "In Darkness, Be Light" is very appropriate isn't it ...

@ Michael - I'm not sure which sense it'd be worse to lose - I just sincerely hope it's not my brain as life goes on (I don't think it will be). I can understand you with your love of design would hate to lose your sight ...

Chris helping that Charity and the kids is just brilliant, I so agree ...

@ Damyanti- good to see you ... you started this excellent idea - and I so enjoy doing it ... so many wonderful people and ideas out there ... I learn a great deal.

@ Lisa - thank you - he certainly has overcome his challenges as best he can ... also as you mention reminding us how lucky we are to have kept ours ...

@ Victoria Marie - nor had I realised the disease was so common, I'd heard about catching things from animals - but this explained how serious toxoplasmosis is as a parasitic disease - I learnt a lot.

Brilliant you had that opportunity to help that young lady with her schooling enabling her ultimately to qualify ... wonderful story - thanks for sharing with us.

@ Shannon - I agree - makes us think about sight doesn't it ...

Thanks so much to you all - delighted to see you here - cheers Hilary

Nick Wilford said...

What an incredible story. And terrifying that this might infect half the global population. I wonder if it is pot luck as to whether symptoms occur or maybe something underlying would cause a bad outcome. Either way, Chris's story is an inspiration.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Nick - I'm sure it's something I've come across - but didn't know what it was ... I'd heard mention of being able to 'get' something if one got too close to pets (perhaps animals) ... so was aware, but not what it was per se.

Chris' story is inspirational - that I agree with ..

Cheers and thanks for visiting - Hilary

A Cuban In London said...

Incredible story. Thanks for sharing it. :-)

Greetings from London.

Sandra Cox said...

Good on Chris for working with special needs and good on you for shining the light on Chris.
Cheers,

Sandra Cox said...

I'm guessing toxoplasmosis is why pregnant women are not supposed to clean litter boxes.
Take special care.

Dan said...

This is an incredible story, Hilary. I am an experienced woodworker, and I have completed several projects on a lathe. I cannot imagine operating the machine blind.

Rhodesia said...

My goodness, talk about a case of positive thinking. It is amazing what some people are capable of when they think at first living is almost not worthwhile. This truly is a remarkable story and strength of mind.
Thanks for the chance to read what Chis is capable of.
Hope all is well.Diane

Denise Covey said...

SuCH an inspirational story Hilary. Wonderful share. I hope to see you at wep in a few days!

mail4rosey said...

Awful that it's a tragic event that leads to it, but wonderful that such a wonderful testimony is now to be had. He is a true inspiration.

Terra said...

When you look up Courage and Resilience in the dictionary, it could show Chris's picture as the definition. Thanks for sharing his story.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ ACIL - it is an incredible story isn't it ... glad you enjoyed it ...

@ Sandra - yes ... good for him that he's giving back through his work with special needs' people - brilliant to know about ...

Toxoplasmosis - I'm sure you're right ... I just remember hearing/reading something about being aware of a parasite that was dangerous - now I know ... a really horrid and unfortunate parasite to infect a person.

@ Dan - yes when I wrote this ... I thought of you - so I'm glad you had a chance to read and comment. Looking at the video he obviously is very careful with how he operates the machine, and has a number of 'checks' in place ... before he sets the machine in motion.

@ Diane - he certainly makes us think doesn't he ... and positive thinking is brought into play, after suffering depression - and now having that strength of mind ... so pleased you enjoyed reading about Chris and his achievements regardless of his blindness ...

@ Denise - I so agree ... totally inspirational. I'll be there at WEP later in the week ...

@ Rosey - it highlights the possibility of the parasite affecting us, then shows what a determined man is able to do - he had good training from being in the auto-industry ...

Thanks so much for visiting and commenting - Chris has made us all think of what's possible - cheers - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Terra - sorry the comment has been rescued!
Thanks for coming by and reading about Chris - yes ... your thoughts are so right - he's an amazing man - with a lot of Courage and Resilience.
A good idea - thank you - Hilary