Toombow Kids loves to travel and introduce you to men and women with unique backgrounds. Today, our journey takes us to France to meet Damien, age 40, who is a happy stay-at-home dad. He told us that his children are his life! Already the father of little Charlie, 4 years old, and Milo, 2 years old, he and his partner are impatiently waiting for the arrival of their third child. However, Damien’s daily life as a father is unlike any other – he is visually impaired!
At age 25, he was diagnosed with Stargardt’s disease. This rare hereditary disease is a handicap that causes the progressive alteration of central vision. Damien’s left eye was affected very quickly and then his right eye. He still has peripheral vision, but it’s far from practical.
“It’s like having a coin stuck in the middle of your glasses. I can shift my gaze to the right and left but I can’t see many details”, he says.
Damien’s young children are aware of their father’s disability because he cannot perform certain everyday actions as their mother can. However, this has never been a hindrance for him! Indeed, Damien organizes his days in such a way that he has no constraints and puts everything in place to spend unforgettable moments with his kids. For example, when it comes to reading stories, he uses a magnifying glass. When it comes to cooking, he knows exactly where each utensil and ingredient is stored. He also takes his children to the park. He knows the routes by heart and loves doing outdoor activities with Charlie and Milo. As he confides, it takes a lot of concentration to watch over them in the park, but he enjoys it and feels it is necessary.
“I constantly have to readjust the way I deal with my handicap as it progresses, and remove barriers , but that’s okay. I feel that my disability is minor compared to others, so I put it into perspective.”
Damien exercises regularly to optimize his visual field and reveals to us that he is able to run on trails as long as 35 miles! A feat that proves that even with a disability, nothing is impossible.
“To all the visually impaired or blind fathers who might hesitate to have a child for fear that they won’t be able to take care of it properly, I would tell them not to worry and enjoy the experience. Even with our disability we can still share wonderful things with them! I don’t consider myself any less of a father than a sighted person. I take good care of my children and being a father is the best thing that ever happened to me,” he says with emotion.
Toombow Kids wishes all the happiness in the world to this united family and a big congratulations to Damien!