Emilie is a talented young woman whose sight loss prompted her to channel her skills to the benefit of others.
Emilie had impaired sight from an early age caused by inflammation of her optic nerve and an underlying autoimmune disease. However, at the age of 23, a week after giving birth to her daughter Freya, she experienced a catastrophic decline in her sight which left her with light perception in only one eye.
It was this which pushed Emilie to tackle her sight loss head on. Realising that motherhood for her was going to differ greatly from the experience of other mums, she soon learnt new skills to enable and empower her as a ‘Blind Mum’.
Emilie also realised that whilst she is without sight, she can hear things that others might miss, such as small intonations or changes in people’s voices. This, coupled with an innate desire to help others, prompted her to embark on a 4–year Diploma course in Counselling, which was sponsored by EYECAN.
Although Emilie is unable to see a person’s body–language she has proved to be a naturally skilled counsellor, which she believes is largely due to not relying on her sight. Emilie is now a fully qualified person-centred counsellor, having completed her placement at Jersey Hospice Care, where she worked as a bereavement counsellor throughout lockdown. Phone and online counselling are recent additions to Emilie’s learning portfolio.
Three years after Freya was born, Emilie was matched with a guide dog. Guide dog training, although intense, enabled Emilie to become a proficient guide dog user, able to safely navigate the Island’s pavements with her daughter.
Over the years EYECAN has supported Emilie with mobility, daily living, and access technology, skills which support her independence. The Charity has also encouraged Emilie to
develop her innate skills through training.