Imagine marrying a woman whose face you’ve never seen before. Being addressed as “daddy” by your child without knowing who he is. Think about life without sight, which most of us take for granted without even realizing it.
This is the truth for Gene Purdie, who was born with Stargardt’s illness. A retinal disease causes him to see only slivers around the edges of whatever he’s looking at.
Despite being born with the illness, Gene was not properly diagnosed until he was 16 years old. After that, he met Joy, the love of his life, and they married and welcomed their son, Lincoln.
Gene has never seen a picture of his family, however.
Joy saw one day that one of Rachael’s guests had Stargardt’s disease while watching the Rachael Ray Show.
She hadn’t seen her sister’s smile for more than a decade. Rachael Ray’s show visitor was able to see thanks to a special set of electronic spectacles! The technology was developed by eSight, a company that specializes in eyewear technology that helps people with vision impairments see again.
As Joy watched it all unfold on the screen in front of her, she was completely astonished. Writing a letter to the program, she hoped they would extend the same incredible opportunity to her family.
After their prayers were answered, a family of three from Denver traveled to New York City to participate in the show.
Gene anticipated the eSight spectacles being slid over his head on stage with bated breath.
At first, the crowd and everyone in the studio were unsure if the technology had worked. Suddenly, Gene turned to face his wife and said, “She’s pretty.”.
This is to be expected, as the couple was overcome with emotion, and Gene was simply taking in all the images he’d been piecing together, a bit at a time, for the past 16 years.
Rachael Ray also revealed that Gene’s family would receive $15,000 in glasses from the brand eSight! Now he’s able to see his wife daily and watch his son grow up in ways he’s never been able to do.
No matter if you can see Gene or not, you can’t deny that he’s full of life. Clearly, his inability to perceive the world around him has never dampened his excitement or energy.