Christopher Ward Jr., a 12-year-old from Forest, Virginia, has been legally blind since birth.
Christopher is legally blind. He suffers from optic nerve hypoplasia, which means he can only see things that are extremely close to his face. “Something has to be up in his face, almost touching for him to see it,” his mother, Marquita Hackley, told ABC News. “And even though he wears glasses on a daily basis, they’re more for protection than vision because there is a strong possibility he could lose the little sight he does have if he were to get hurt or hit on the face.”
With the help of technology, though, Christopher recently became able to see clearly for the first time in his life.
He and his mother traveled to Washington, D.C., to test out an eSight headset, a new type of wearable technology that allows people with very poor vision to see clearly. The headset works by taking high-speed photos of the user’s surroundings and projecting them on a screen in front of the user’s eyes.As soon as Christopher put on the headset, he was able to see things he had never seen before, including his own mother.
For Hackley, watching her son seeing his surroundings for the first time was “overwhelming and exciting.”
“The very first thing he did was turn to me and say, ‘Oh, Mommy! There you are!” she explained. “And then to hear him say, ‘I saw my mom, and she was very pretty,’ was so heartwarming. And aside from pretty, just the fact he could even see me meant the whole world to me.””As a mother going 12 years with your child not being able to clearly see I don’t really have words for it,” she told the New York Daily News.
There was one more hurdle, however: The eSight headset costs a whopping $15,000.
Hackley couldn’t afford the expensive glasses, especially because her insurance didn’t cover it. So she set up a crowdfunding campaign to help cover the costs, hoping that a few people would donate what they could to help her pay for the technology. The response she got, though, was overwhelming.”Within minutes, we shot well above our goal of $15,000,” she said. The family has now received over $25,000 in donations, and Hackley said the extra money will go into a trust fund to help pay for Christopher’s college tuition.
“Christopher is just a very loving kid, always happy and never complains about anything,” she told ABC News.
“I’ll do anything to help get him what he deserves.”Watch the video to witness the heartwarming moment he saw his mother for the first time.