This month, we were invited to the Hay Festival. BBC Click wanted to interview someone trying SightPlus for the first time! Obviously, we said “YES!”.
Hay Festival celebrates literacy and welcomes each year hundreds of authors and book lovers in the lovely countryside of Herefordshire.
We reached out to the Royal National College for the Blind (RNC) in Hereford to invite one of their students to participate. Tim, their Marketing Manager, told us that almost all the students were away during half term.
We remembered that when we visited them in 2016 to showcase our first SightPlus prototype, we met Maisy. When Maisy tried our prototype she could write and we thought that she would be perfect for this interview. Thankfully, Tim reached out to her and she agreed to be interviewed.
That is what Maisy wrote in 2016.
After 3 years, we weren’t sure that the headset would still work for her. Maisy lost her sight when she was 16 because of a brain tumour that affected her optic nerve. It was quite brutal. In 6 month, she went from being fully sighted to being severely sight impaired with a very blurred and glittery sight, tunnel vision on the right eye and no vision on the left one.
We had to chat with her to understand how her sight condition has progressed in the past few years. From her feedback, we felt confident that SightPlus would work and enhance her vision but we can never be sure at 100%.
During the rehearsal, BBC Click insisted that she would try the device only live on stage. We just showed her how the remote control works and adjusted the straps of the headset so it would fit her straight away.
Maisy did wait and it was worth it. It was a very emotional moment where she couldn’t hold her tears. The entire audience and Spencer Kelly, the BBC Click Star Presenter, were on edge when she started describing what she could see: Spencer’s tiny Britney-Spears-like microphone and how people were dressed in the first row. She also read the first sentence of a Harry Potter’s book that she loves so much. She would normally not be able to do that or she wouldn’t rely on her sight to read. She uses audio books.
She felt a bit embarrassed to be the “crying blind girl” but she was moved and we are so grateful that she shared those emotions with us.
Maisy started a 30-day trial and we will keep you posted about her experience with the device. She is looking forward to using SightPlus for watching TV, seeing her mum’s face and maybe going to a couple of concerts.
A special thank you for the BBC Click crew and RNC to make this happen.