Wetherby woman’s fashion show thank you for charity’s sight loss support

A Wetherby woman has hit the catwalk to thank Wetherby in Support of the Elderly (WiSE) for support they gave her at a time when she lost her sight.

Marie Dempsey’s eyesight deteriorated gradually over several years until she was eventually registered blind – but still attended weekly exercise classes staged by WiSE.

She’s now repaid WiSE for their support by becoming a model at a fashion show fundraiser as a thank you for the help they gave her in beating feelings of isolation.

Marie said: “My sight deteriorated gradually until I needed an operation, but I wasn’t allowed to have it until I was on the verge of blindness. As I was high risk, an operation could have made my poor vision worse.  

“I live alone and everything suddenly became difficult. All of the furniture had to be in a certain position and I couldn’t even watch the TV or read a book. I didn’t want to go out on my own and began to make excuses not to leave my house. I had to use a white stick to get around and I couldn’t read any of the food packaging.

“The only thing I would go to with my sight so bad was WiSE’s weekly Chairobics session. I really enjoy it and the staff and volunteers were hugely supportive and made sure I was comfortable.”

Marie was also supported during this period by Harrogate Vision Support and Leeds City Council, until eventually she was able to have the life-changing operation.

“In June, my sight was so bad I was finally allowed the operation. It only took 20 minutes and I was awake for the whole procedure. It all went well, so the next morning I came downstairs and peeled the patch slowly off my eye.

“I couldn’t believe it. I could see not only the kitchen, but beyond the kitchen and into the park! It was the difference between closing your eyes and opening them again.

“Six weeks later I had an operation on the other eye which also went well. I can now see better than I have since I was 11 years old. The only glasses I need are for reading. I’m now full of confidence and so busy.

“WiSE have always been so helpful, and they were there with all the information I needed to access relevant support. So when they needed volunteers for their Fashion Show I jumped at the chance. I wanted the chance to give something back.”

The Fundraising Fashion Show was hosted by M&Co Wetherby and raised more than £225 for WiSE.

For more information visit www.w-ise.org.uk.

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