Jess Gallagher Summer & Winter Paralympic Medallist

Alfie's story

Aug
5

Last year I received a beautiful email from a Mum whose son had been diagnosed with an eye condition. It broke my heart to learn that on diagnosis the Doctor had told her and her husband that their little baby boy would be bullied growing up, never get a job and that he would never live a fulfilled life. Understandably, they were distraught and utterly heartbroken.

During this time they experienced every possible emotion including fear, despair and anger. Anger at how a medical professional could make such a statement about a 6 month old baby. As they came to terms with the diagnosis of a vision impairment they started realising that just because one person makes such a negative, judgemental statement they didn't need to believe it or listen to it. They were determined to empower their little boy Alfie to dream big and let nothing stop him.

Alfie's Mum Diana, a wonderful film producer embraced this emotion, passionate to share her story in the hope to show other's that a negative and tough time doesn't need to last.

I suppose this is where I come in...

In wanting to share how people with low vision can live an incredible fulfilled life Diana started researching online and came across me.

She reached out, we started chatting and discovered the synergies between our experiences, the incredible reactions and response to a challenge from our families and the support they gave us to ensure low vision was no impediment to our lives.

Diana asked if I would share my family’s story in her creation to showcase the beginning of the low vision journey for her family and the journey 15 years on for my family.

Over the years I've come to realise that whilst I follow my dreams that my greatest ability to help others in challenges they may face is to lead by example in living the life I choose. I was incredibly excited to meet little Alfie (now 3), big brother William and Mum and Dad (Diana and Rob) to show them firsthand that whilst low vision might have some challenges there is no challenge that is too great to overcome.

I've just recently returned from Mt Buller and it was an incredibly special experience, Alfie's first time on snow and he had his very own personal ski instructor... me!

His cheekiness and enthusiasm were infectious. After just one run he was telling me to go faster and faster and pointing to the big run… ‘let’s go down there!’ he exclaimed. I think I would have had a heart attack taking him down the steeper runs so I convinced him we could go fast enough where we were!!! It was very special for me to share the winter world I love with Alfie and it was wonderful to share this experience with his family, my ski guide Eric along with Aaron, our cinematographer and Glenn on sound. Filming was especially beautiful with all of us so emotionally connected to Diana’s vision.

Below are a couple of beautiful behind the scenes photos, I feel they speak much more than any words I could write. The smiles on our faces say it all.

Stay tuned as we continue to film some special footage for Diana's heartfelt creation sharing ‘Alfie’s Story’.

Until next time...

Jess

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