Dermot Farrelly recounts his first encounter with the NCBI during his early days of sight loss. “In 1982 I had detached retinas and I lost my sight in the left eye, four years later the right one went. I am not totally blind but I have very little left”.
Dermot describes how much the help of the NCBI helped him through this time, “The NCBI were invaluable to me, on so many levels. Naturally my sight loss caused huge upheaval, physically, emotionally and practically. The NCBI helped with everything. The mobility training was vitally important, it literally got me going. I was taught how to get up and down stairs, trained to know how to find the edges of footpaths, that sort of thing. I got involved in over 65’s committee and received additional support and help. There are always challenges but the NCBI helped me to meet them and overcome them. They gave me the confidence to say to myself, ‘don’t sit in a corner, get out and stay living”.
Dermot who is a sprightly 83 year old says “I wanted and needed to try and keep my life as normal as I could so the NCBI gave me tips and hints and advice on how to do that. Continuing to work was so important to me though a slight rethink was needed as I was a driver for a High Court Judge! They were very good to me in work and I made the trek from Shankill into the Four Courts every day”.
It wasn’t always an easy trek as one day Dermot was knocked sideways by a cyclist but thankfully managed to escape relatively unscathed.
Dermot remains positive about his impaired vision. He says, “I had a good life and I still have a good life. I make the most of all the facilities available to me and getting involved with the NCBI is key. It is vital to be able to meet others in the same boat and keep up with new technology and other advances that make things so much easier. The NCBI library is a Godsend, I must have used everything in it, I love it. I get taped magazines every month as well so it is a wonderful amenity”.
Acknowledging the things he misses most, Dermot references sport, “Oh I loved my sport but I still like listening to it. I adore old films and now I have the accompanying audio for them, I sit and enjoy them all over again. I know them backwards as I have watched them so often!”
Dermot’s advice to anyone who may be having difficulties with their sight is to simply, “Contact NCBI, they will show you the way”.