By Luke Kenton
After sixteen years of relative darkness, this legally blind woman saw her ‘best-friend’ guide dog for the very time in an emotional exchange, reducing her to tears.
After being diagnosed with bilateral optic neuritis – a degenerative visual impairment – two decades ago, Mary Sedgwick, 48, described the gradual decline of her sight as ‘like watching a movie that was slowly fading away’ – a sensation that caused her to plummet into a deep depression.
Waking up in complete darkness suddenly in 2004, the former physician from Asheville, North Carolina, USA, spent six solitary years secluding herself from the outside world, before finding ‘a meaning to life’ again, when she was matched up with her golden retriever guide-dog, Lucy.
Instantly hitting it off with one another, with her canine companion’s help, Mary began to enjoy life once again with an adjusted sense of freedom, but the question of what her loyal dog looked like always weighed heavy on her mind.
All that changed however on April 28, when Mary was selected to try out a pair of eSight glasses – a ground-breaking technology using a high-definition camera that restores the user’s sight to its full capability – a the North Carolina Lion’s State Convention.
Placing the eyewear onto her face, Mary immediately erupts into a flurry of emotion as she stares down into the loving eyes of Lucy for the very first time in their eight-year-long companionship.
Overwhelmed to see Lucy’s ‘physical beauty match the beauty of her nature’, Mary ecstatically kisses and hugs Lucy, crying uncontrollably as a tear-filed gathering of family and friends surround her.
Setting up a crowdfunding page to help her raise the 10,000 USD (7,500 GBP) required to purchase a pair of the glasses, Dr. Mary said: “[After being diagnosed] I fell into a deep depression and began completely secluding myself from the outside world.
“I no longer knew why I existed on this planet anymore and I could see no meaning in my life.
“Then on March 4, 2004 I woke up in complete darkness – I was paralyzed with fear.
“Over the years, medication advanced to allow me to see faint light and shapes.
“The best way to describe it is like starting into a fogged mirror after a shower; for able-sighted people wiping away the fog allows them to see clearly, but for me the fog never goes away.
“Going from working some 80-hour weeks to being able to do nothing at all made me feel worthless.
“But when Lucy came leaping into the room for the first-time and knocked me off my chair, I knew she would be the one to carry on with my journey and find my freedom once again.
“Over the past several years I have not allowed myself to think about being able to see again with vibrant colours and clarity, because I believe it would no longer be possible.
“As the same time, there was always a seed within me that had never given up hope.”
Attending the North Carolina Lions State Convention in Greensboro, NC, Mary was surprised when a friend reached out to eSight asking if Mary would be able to try out the glasses for herself.
At first passing on the opportunity through fear of false hope, eventually Mary reluctantly agreed to try the technology out and her skepticisms were quickly quashed.
Mary said: “With every invitation [to try out the glasses] I came up with yet another excuse – each time I could feel my fear rising.
“But sitting before lunch I had a revelation that nothing could be lost if I tried the glasses on and wasn’t able to see.
“Once the eSight glasses were placed on I knew I was going to be able to see significantly more than I’d be able to in the past 15 years.
“In the moment that I looked down to see Lucy’s beautiful, soulful eyes that my life was going to change in drastic measures.
“The sensation of my brain firing signals after years of silence was truly mind-blowing.
“I wasn’t able to control the flood of tear and my whole body was shaking – I exploded with joy as I got a glimpse into just how much my life could change.
“Having the eSight allowed me to see the love in Lucy’s eyes and that was a blessing and gift I’ll always treasure.
“Every moment since trying on the glasses has been a struggle, as I know how much they could change my life and allow me even to practice in the medical industry again.
“I’ve now started a fundraising campaign to help me reach the goal of $9,995 to purchase the glasses – I then want to help fundraise for others like me too.”
To donate to Mary’s cause, please visit (**MANDATORY LINK**): www.giving.esighteyewear.com/drmary