I was diagnosed with the condition Retinitis Pigmentosa at the age of 19 in 1994.
This was at the time of my life where I was standing at the gateway to the rest of my adult future, I had a University place for figurative sculpture awaiting to be embarked upon, a committed relationship and an ambition to become a University Lecturer of sculpture.
However, this was all about to change. The immensity of my diagnosis was so great that all of my future plans just were shattered into tiny pieces. My relationship ended under the pressure of the knowledge that I would become blind. I had to leave University as I had no independent skills as a young visually impaired person and then also lost my drivers licence, all of these losses came one after the other, leaving me emotionally and mentally broken.
After retreating back to the comfort of my parents home I slowly over 2 years began to repair myself. One of the great supports for myself was engaging in sculpture, this was more of a therapeutic activity at first but then began to become more of a freelance opportunity.
I have since over the period of 30 years created over 250 works of sculpture, exhibited solo exhibitions all over the country and Ireland and have many of my works owned by clients all over the world.
Teaching has also been a part of my professional journey and I have had the pleasure of working with a wide age range from children to adults.
My profession has been a great support to me as I have travelled through progressive sight loss, it has been an outlet to express myself and I am very grateful for the success I have had in my career.
2019 was to see yet another traumatic time with my sight loss. I had been working extremely hard on accepting my blindness and indeed began to embrace the gifts it had given me. However at the end of 2019 I began to notice that the world was beginning to disappear in an abyss of white. This white appears as though I am walking through a very thick fog. This was something I was not expecting, I had worked so hard on accepting my blindness at night and thought when the final stages of RP came I would be in the dark all the time like I am at night, however instead of this I now was struck by this incredibly suffocating and isolating environment that I could not escape.
Over the past 2 years I have had to learn how to live again, regain my mental health and learn how to be independent. The emotional impact of my recent sight loss has changed my life forever, I am now going forward as a single woman, addressing my own needs, awaiting my guide dog and beginning a new pathway within a new career.
After my final solo exhibition in Dublin, Ireland, I will be retiring from sculpture and the arts industry to work on becoming someone providing support within the sight loss community.
My aim is to inspire, support, educate and advocate for the blind and visually impaired bringing more awareness within society and to support the psychological impact of sight loss.
I hope to make 'Beyond Vision' a service provider, liaising with existing sight loss organisations and other local service's. This will enable those with visual impairment to be better supported within their environment. I aim to do this through public speaking, community group support, monthly podcasts and using my new presenting skills on local radio. I aim to commit to create a better world for my fellow blind and visually impaired brothers and sisters.