Good vision isn’t a given. Sometimes, all we can do is help our loved ones experience everything they can through their sight, while they still have it. That’s why 10-year-old Isaac Garcia’s family is saving money and fundraising to help him complete his Vision Bucket List. Isaac was recently diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a rare form of juvenile macular degeneration that could cost him his sight before the age of 15.
LensCrafters employee Kelli Lucas, Issac’s mother, shared his inspiring story with LensCrafters employees across the nation, who banded together and fundraised to send the family on a cross-country vision journey. In June, Isaac was able to visit New York City, Washington DC, Niagara Falls and upstate New York.
By Kelli Lucas, LensCrafters employee
“Isaac is a 10-year-old in fifth grade with about 12 times the energy of the average 10-year-old boy. So when he started struggling in school, I thought it was just his limited attention span and began giving him lots of one-on-one time with his homework. Then, last year, we noticed him holding really small things—like the screen of my phone—really close to his face. I brought him to LensCrafters for an eye exam to get to the bottom of his problem.
Dr. Tremayne, OD, took retina photos before Isaac’s exam and told me something around his macula didn’t look right, and referred me to a pediatric ophthalmologist. Like Dr. Tremayne, she wasn’t able to correct him to 20/20. She referred me to a neurologist and a retina specialist, who finally diagnosed Isaac with Stargardt’s Disease.
Only 8 months after his first eye exam at LensCrafters, Isaac’s vision loss had progressed to 20/50. I was told at this time to be prepared for the possibility of his vision continuing to decrease at this rate, and to start teaching him braille. How do you tell your baby he is losing his ability to see?
I was scared and heartbroken, but when I finally sat Isaac down and explained what I knew and what he needed to know to be prepared. After our talk he stood up and hugged me, he looked at me smiled and said, “Don’t worry mom when I grow up I’m going to be a scientist and I’m going find a cure so no one’s mom ever has to be sad ever again.” The next words out of his mouth were, “Can I at least go see Niagara Falls before I go blind?” That’s when we started Isaac’s Vision Bucket List.
I started saving as much money as I could so I could help Isaac see everything he can. My mission is to create a lifetime of visual memories as quickly as possible because we do not know how much time we have left. My friends and family have joined me on this mission and started looking into fundraisers. When Isaac found out people he didn’t even know wanted to help him see the world, he was amazed. He has started making cards and bookmarks in braille as thank you gifts and to help promote Stargardt’s Disease awareness.
I asked him recently what his feelings are about what is happening to him. Are you scared? Are you angry? His response was, ‘Life is full of good things and bad things, this just happens to be my bad thing and I’m okay with that.’ Isaac has such a great attitude about life. He has started taking hip-hop dance classes because Isaac says ‘You don’t have to see to look cool.’ And he is working very hard to learn braille and teach his family everything he has learned.”
Join FB to watch the story unfold and see the world through the eyes of Isaac! https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1446311608960739