It is impossible to imagine life without the people we love.
Visually appreciating our surroundings is something we usually take for granted. However, not everyone has the opportunity to see colors, to experience brightness, and to watch the people they love.
Gene Purdie never saw the world as we do.
Stargardt’s disease was present at birth in Purdie.
It affects the sharpness of our eyes and manifests in our central vision. They can only see the outline of things around them due to their intense blurry vision.
In some cases, vision loss can start in childhood, but other people experience symptoms and visual degradation later in life.
Despite this, he met the love of his life anyway.
When Joy was just starting to develop an interest in Gene, she waved to say “hi,” but Gene passed her by.
Joy didn’t give up even though it hurt at first.
Next time she saw him, she asked him what the deal was with all these “pretending not to see her”. Gene then revealed he was blind.
Together, they started a new chapter in their lives.
Eventually, they started dating and got married. After that, they started a family. By this point, Gene was training himself to do things at home while living with the disease.
In spite of the fact that Gene had to stick his nose down the pages of a cookbook just to read the ingredients, the couple admitted Gene was a good cook.
Despite not seeing his family, Gene showed his love in profound ways.
One day, Joy was watching TV when she saw a visual rig on Rachael Ray’s show. An eSight segment gave a young woman the chance to see her sister’s smile for the first time.
Seeing it now gave Joy some hope that her husband can live a life where he can see their son.
In order to get on Rachael Ray’s show, she wrote a letter.
Even though I heard Rachael Ray say they were helping someone see, I still didn’t believe it.” she said in the show. “I literally began shaking and crying for the next hour or more at the thought of my husband seeing my face for the first time – to see our son.”
Next thing Gene knew, he was sitting in front of Rachael Ray, who was expressing her excitement for the couple.
For the first time, Gene saw Joy’s face.
He could only say, “Oh, she’s pretty,” as he held back his tears. Joy knew then that the glasses were working. Everyone in the studio wept with Gene as he gazed upon his son.
His $15,000 visual rig was gifted to him by Rachael Ray, but he wasn’t only gifted with the ability to see.
As a result, he was able to capture snapshots of the most precious moments in his life and keep them forever.
Gene’s adorable reaction can be seen in the video below.
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