8 year-old Whitney lives in a village in Uganda with her mother and 2 younger siblings. For years, she was blind with no hope of sight. She developed severe cataracts at the age of 4 and after four years, time was running out to restore her sight.
A friendly, talkative girl, she longed to be able to join in her friend’s games and see the blackboards at school. Some people in Uganda see blindness as a curse and her mother told us sadly how Whitney was bullied, taunted and even beaten at school because she can’t see. Her mother was afraid that, if she didn’t get her sight back, she would never get a proper education, have a job or get married.
Whitney’s mother couldn’t afford the operation to remove her cataracts and restore her sight. And living in a remote village, she only heard about the free treatment available thanks to CBM supporters. Doctors at our partner hospital immediately scheduled surgery.
Whitney had successful cataract surgery. After the bandages came off, she saw more clearly than she has in years. Before, she could only just see light and dark. Now she can see letters on an eye-test card and walk through the hospital grounds, no longer clinging to her mother's arm.
But it’s not all good news. Whitney can see – but not as well as doctors hoped. The longer a child has cataracts, the less likely they will regain sight fully. So while we’re excited to know that her life will be easier now, we’re devastated that we didn’t reach her sooner.
Whitney will return for a follow-up appointment, regular check-ups and probably to be fitted for glasses. Once she’s back at school, our vision therapist will visit to advise teachers on how to help her learn. This brave little girl’s journey is not yet over, but thanks to supporters like you her life will be much easier and she will get the ongoing support she needs.