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Legally blind father grateful for CNIB, United Way


Daniel Delorme couldn’t see a future until he discovered the United Way.

The 31-year-old was born with glaucoma and lost sight in his left eye at 15. Five years ago, his right eye’s retina detached, leaving him with 10 per cent vision and legally blind.

Coupled with raising his one-year-old daughter Satie alone, he became a recluse.

“I felt embarrassed because I’d be running into things,” he recounted.

“I stayed inside for about 10 months until I found out about the United Way.”

It helped him get orientation and mobility training from the Canadian National Institute for the Blind’s Red Deer chapter.

“They gave me the tools,” he said, adding that he considered a service dog, but raising Satie meant he couldn’t spare the month of full-time training needed.

Unable to work, he and Satie live off Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped payments and a Canada Pension Plan disability pension.

He has a business administration diploma and had two businesses before becoming legally blind, but being a single father with young daughter keeps him at home.

“I’d love to be in Big Brothers or visit with people at the hospital, but it will have to wait until Satie is in school full time.”

Another factor is what little sight he has left is deteriorating. He’s had three surgeries to his eyes with the prospect of another next year.

“I’m going to see a doctor in January about a cornea transplant,” he said, adding it’s perilous because of the glaucoma and detached retina, but necessary due to recurring blisters on his corneas.

“I may end up being blind anyway so why not take the risk?”

Faith in God has helped him through his trials.

“My faith totally helps. Whatever happens, me worrying about it is not going to change a thing. It’s up to the man upstairs.”

With Satie now four and in pre-school half days, Delorme has time for workplace presentations to help garner United Way donations.

“I did about 20 this year and I made a video for the CNIB.”

Despite dim eyesight, Delorme feels his prospects are bright.

“I’ve got it together now. I’m blessed that I have a kid and get to stay home raising her. It’s better than any job I’ve ever had.

“I just want to be the best dad ever.”

rfiedler@reddeeradvocate.com

 
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