Adriana Tiezch reads a book with her daughter

Getting the gift of sight

Francesca Cicuto Tietzsch can’t stop smiling.

Francesca Cicuto Tietzsch can’t stop smiling.

The 10-year-old doesn’t need to hold the book close to her face.

Sitting with her mom Adriana Tietzsch, she begins tackling a new book.

It is a dream come true for her mother who didn’t think this day would come true.

Last year her daughter was diagnosed with Stargardt Disease, a common childhood eye disease that affects most people under the age of 20. In time, the young girl will likely lose her vision to the point of legal blindness. There is no cure for the disease.

But Tietzsch did not want to give up on her youngest daughter’s sight. She began researching and fundraising to purchase eSight, a pair of special glasses for people with low vision.

The specialized glasses came with a $15,000 price tag.

An outpouring of support from the community and beyond did the trick. They raised more than $17,000 with help from a GoFundMe account.

Three days before Christmas Francesca got her glasses.

“I can see well,” said Francesca, a Grade 5 student at Holy Family School. “I can watch further away from the TV.”

Francesca said she is looking forward to going back to school and showing off her new glasses.

Right now she is getting used to wearing the glasses when she reads and watches television.

Tietzsch said the extra money will go into a bank account in the hopes that one day there will be a surgery or new technology to prolong her daughter’s vision.

“We are more than thrilled,” said Tietzsch. “We are so thankful. I want to say thanks from the bottom of my heart … This is the best Christmas present that Francesca could ever have asked for and never imagined possible.”

Tietzsch said she wanted to thank everyone who helped including her friends in Mexico, the City of Red Deer employees, Red Deer firefighters and the Red Deer Central Lions Club.

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