Fund set up for Irish boy losing sight so he can see his dreams

Daniel Haslam
Daniel Haslam

Daniel Haslam has one wish – to see the Pyramids and the Eiffel Tower before he goes blind.

The 8-year-old has just been diagnosed with optical atrophy, which means he will lose his sight within the next six years.

Daniel, who is also autistic, has experienced hearing loss and is awaiting the results of a genetic disorder, which could further complicate his health matters.

The young boy received the eyesight diagnosis less than a month ago, after his mother Carol started investigating why his prescription for glasses was getting stronger every six months.

"We got him checked when he was four years old and got him reading glasses. However, his prescription was constantly changing with every six-month check-up," she said.

"From March to September last year, he went from being able to watch the TV from the couch to having to stand eight inches away from it.

"Eventually, I got an appointment with a specialist in Temple Street, who diagnosed optical atrophy. They also raised red flags in relation to his hearing.

"I had always put down little hearing things to autism, but Daniel has experienced unusual hearing loss, from the low tones to the high tones, which means he doesn't hear conversations that well. We have, thankfully, managed to get hearing aids for him."

However, the eyesight loss is irreversible and Carol and her husband, Kevin, who recently moved from Dublin to Ratoath, Co Meath, have decided to try to bring Daniel to as many places as he wants to see as possible.

Daniel with mother Carol, father Kevin and sister Niamh

"We were told that the optic nerve from the eye to the brain is dying, and Daniel may have up to six years left of vision - we're not sure," said Carol.

"He was very upset about it and was asking heartbreaking questions as to why he has to go blind.

"He's even wondering how he could manage to eat his food when he's blind because he wouldn't see it on the plate.

"I've told him that we'll bring him on as many adventures to as many places as we can and asked him where he'd like to see.

"We expected him to say EuroDisney, but he is mad into his geography and wants to see structures like the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramids, Big Ben, places like that."

The community of Meath, as well as Daniel's school in Blanchardstown, Co Dublin and his football club, HHFC Huntstown, Hartstown, have started fundraising to help raise the costs of journeying to the places he wishes to see while he still can.

"The support we've been receiving has been unbelievable and we'd just like to say a big thank you to everyone."

The fundraising drive, set up by Carol's friends, has already amassed over double the €5,000 target but anyone who would like to help this little boy go on as many adventures as possible can access the donation site here.

Via Independent