Jenny's Story

Retinitis Pigmentosa

Jenny’s sight first began to fail when she was 12 years old. By 25 she had been diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa. Initially the condition caused tunnel vision and night blindness, but in 2003 Jenny lost residual sight in her left eye and the remaining sight in her right eye in 2010. 

By 2004 Jenny had become proficient at the long cane but in 2008 her mobility was also supported by her first guide dog, Pacha. Pacha has since retired and now lives very happily with Jenny’s parents in Ireland, whilst Nan now works at Jenny’s side and provides constant companionship. 

In the office, a rehabilitation consultant ensured that Jenny’s workstation was accessible. Touch typing and access technology, initially Zoomtext, but later Dolphin Supernova, enabled Jenny to continue in her role as finance officer. Jenny’s Finance Industry employer is very supportive, ensuring flexi time whenever Jenny needs to attend forums, recognising the importance of her commitment to improving provision for Islanders with disability. Jenny also sits on the Channel TV Disability Panel, ensuring that television represents Islanders with disability as individuals and not stereotypically. 

Sport and physical activity have always played a big part in Jenny’s life, and sight loss has not slowed her down. Jenny is a member of Jersey Spartan Athletics, Crapaud Hash Harriers and Merton Leisure Club and Aquadome, and her achievements are numerous. To date she has run in 2 London Marathons, learned to swim at the age of 36, used a zip wire, undertaken a tandem parachute jump, a tandem toboggan ride, and participated in a triathlon, duathlon and regular Park Runs. In 2019 Jenny presented the medals to the top 3 ladies in Jersey’s super-league triathlon. She has also trekked in Croatia and along the Great Wall of China. 

Jenny urges anyone with disability to “Have a go. If you ask for assistance people will find a way to make it happen,” she explains. “With the right support, you can do anything!”

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