Don’t Give Me Stick For Using My Cane:Blind Oscar, 2, Leads Campaign To Help Henshaws Charity

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Don’t give me stick for using my cane: Blind Oscar, 2, leads campaign to help Henshaws charity

February 17, 2011

GREAT STRIDES­ Oscar O’Sullivan-Hughes strives to lead as normal a life as possible.

GREAT STRIDES­ Oscar O’Sullivan-Hughes strives to lead as normal a life as possible.

When some people see little Oscar O’Sullivan-Hughes using his white cane, they assume it is just a toy and tut at him. But in fact two-year-old Oscar was
left blind at birth due to a rare genetic defect.

Now his parents have spoken out as Oscar becomes the face of a campaign to raise awareness of a charity for blind people.

Oscar, who lives with parents Kait Hughes and Anthony O’Sullivan in Wythenshawe, has Lebers Congenital Amaurosis.

Kait, 30, said: “Oscar’s used the cane since he’s been able to walk.

“Often when we are out in the shops he will stop to smell the bread, touch the fridges or smell the shampoos.

“People will lose patience with him and stride right over his cane.

“They have never knocked him over but they are so insensitive and will tut at him because he is holding them up.

“Often we think it’s because they are not aware or because they see that he is so young and think he can’t possibly be blind.”

Kait said the lack of information on child blindness even meant the family struggled to access the specialised services he required.

She said: “After he was born in November 2008, we noticed that despite his eyes being open he was not looking at things.

“When our concerns were raised, we were told he had jaundice and his sight would be okay.

“Another person told us because he was blind he would never smile. Even when he got the cane I couldn’t bring myself to accept he was blind.

“When we went to the playgroups other parents seemed scared to look at him.

“It was only when we accessed the Henshaws service at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital that we were able to understand and to learn to deal with his condition.”

Oscar is now at the forefront of a campaign launched by the Sale and Altrincham Advertiser and Stretford and Urmston Advertiser, to raise £50,000 for Henshaws
Society for Blind People, a charity based in Old Trafford. It helps blind and visually-impaired people build the skills they need to lead normal lives.

Henshaws put Oscar’s family in touch with another couple in Worcester whose son had the same condition as Oscar but was slightly older.

Kait said: “When we met the family they reassured us that their child was normal and could move around and talk with his brother. We knew then that Oscar
was going to be okay.”

Fiona Berry, Henshaws children and families team leader, said: “Our children and families service specialises in working with children and parents with
sight loss, often with complex needs and additional disabilities.

“Oscar’s case is unique in that he is the youngest person by far that we’ve ever taught to use a white cane.”

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