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Sakura, blind but full of hope

Sakura, blind but full of hope
Toombow Kids

At the heart of the Hokkaido prefecture in Japan resides an extraordinary teenager named Sakura. At just 16 years old, she has experienced a life-altering journey since unexpectedly losing her vision. Toombow Kids had the privilege of meeting her as part of a awareness and prevention mission in the Land of the Rising Sun and capturing her poignant testimony, where she bravely declares that her disability has not changed her life goals. It’s a dream we invite you to discover!

When we meet Sakura, she is a radiant young girl, full of life and hope. Yet, behind her bright smile lies a painful story. Four years ago, at the age of 12, Sakura was diagnosed with glaucoma, a serious eye condition that affects the optic nerve and can lead to blindness if not treated in time. While this condition is more common in individuals over forty, there are unfortunately cases in young adults and even more rarely in children, making Sakura’s case unique. The shock of this diagnosis was devastating for Sakura and her family. What young girl expects one day to be told by a doctor that she will gradually lose her sight? At the time, Sakura recalls the confusion and fear that engulfed her.

“It was a shock for me and my family. We didn’t know how to deal with it. I felt lost and helpless facing this illness.”

To make matters worse, the progression of glaucoma was rapid. Despite all of her family’s efforts to find solutions, the high cost of treatments and surgery prevented them from doing anything. Gradually, Sakura lost her vision, and each day was a battle against the darkness that was slowly setting in. Eventually, two and a half years after her diagnosis, Sakura became completely blind. It was a shock that led her to completely reorganize her life.

“I still remember the day I lost my sight permanently. It was as if the world was crumbling around me. Everything seemed dark and frightening. But I didn’t want to let it destroy me. I started taking mobility classes, learning to move around with a cane, using devices and software to compensate for my loss of vision… Above all, I wanted to stay connected to the world, to remain as independent as possible.”

Despite the challenges she faces every day, Sakura remains determined to achieve her dream of becoming a teacher. She is aware that it will require a lot of work and adaptation, but she refuses to let her blindness steal her ambition and is already exploring different teaching methods adapted for blind individuals and considering taking online courses to deepen her knowledge.

“I want to help children learn and grow, even if I have to do it in a different way. A few weeks ago, I helped a friend understand a Japanese lesson and it went really well, she understood everything! So I can see that I don’t need my vision to succeed in this profession that I want to pursue!”

Around her, the teenager can rely on the support of her family and friends, who also give her the strength to move forward. However, what’s most impressive about her is her strength of character, drawn from her immense will to overcome obstacles. Toombow Kids hopes that her story will inspire others to never give up on their dreams, even in the face of the greatest adversity, and wishes Sakura the best on her journey into the teaching profession!

Mister Cookie Doki
Knock, knock, come in, it's Mr. Cookie Doki, your happiest friend. If you are lying on a hospital bed, this column is for you. I want to see your beautiful smile, so I will send you magic dust that will help you stay connected. Every time you eat a cookie, I will bring you lots of strength and courage. Never give up !