Tipperary mother praises the National Council for the Blind of Ireland for supporting her daughter

VHI Women’s Mini Marathon takes place on June 3rd.




A Tipperary mother praises the services of the National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI) and encourages people to support the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon on Sunday 3rd June. 

Thurles’ Kathleen Donnelly’s daughter Annie has an eye condition called achromatopsia, which is a combination of night astigmatism and a severe sensitivity to light. Annie has gained a huge amount from the services of the national charity working for the rising number of people affected by sight loss in Ireland.

Every day, the NCBI help people change their lives by giving them the tools they need to either regain or maintain their independence. The majority of people using NCBI services have some remaining vision. There are currently 54,810 people with impaired vision in Ireland, with 2,091 in Tipperary.

NCBI’s services include emotional support and counselling for people struggling to come to terms with sight loss. Other services include rehabilitation training, which includes independent living skills and mobility training (using a long cane); advice and information services; employment advice; low vision solutions such as magnifiers and aids to help people to read standard print; and assistive technology advice and training to either magnify or read aloud what is on screen.  NCBI also has a library which produces large-print and audio books and Braille.

“Caroline Lane from NCBI has been fantastic for Annie but also for me. I was able to meet other parents through NCBI and we share experiences and advice,” Kathleen says.

Annie has attended numerous NCBI workshops, including a technology workshop in University of Limerick and a two-day independent living skills workshop. “Annie’s technology skills have made a huge difference to her education and she uses a laptop in class to type answers along with the Eclipse Scholar since she was in junior infants - this device allows Annie to zoom in on the whiteboard. She also used a tablet and a kindle,” Kathleen continues.

Annie’s school has also been very supportive. “One of Annie’s teachers in her school was qualified to teach touch typing and took her after school which made a huge difference,” Kathleen explains.

Kathleen admires her daughter’s attitude. “Annie is proud of her disability and always focuses on the thing she can do”.

This will be Kathleen’s third time doing the Women’s Mini Marathon and she encourages the people of Tipperary to support NCBI on Sunday 3rd June. “The NCBI do a great job at organising the day. I loved that I could meet other mothers of children who are vision impaired and also adults with vision impairments too.

"NCBI is hugely important to Annie and they are a big part of her life. The organisation is brilliant and are always there when we need them," she adds. 

NCBI must raise €3 million annually to ensure that they can continue to offer essential services to people who are blind or vision impaired. They do this through a network of over 90 charity shops nationwide and by fundraising events such as the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon. The mini marathon is 10 km with no time limit.

NCBI participants will receive training guidelines for all walkers, joggers and runners, along with sponsorship cards and fundraising advice before the marathon. There will be an NCBI base to hold all your belongings, a pamper zone with hair styling, a make-up and nail service to relax after the marathon, and refreshments to refuel. NCBI will also have a family area with fun activities such as banner making, glasses decoration designing and learning about sight loss zone with games.

Register online, contact NCBI on 018821970 or collette.mcentee@ncbi.ie.