Hope is Believing the Future Can Be Better
By Jack McCormick
I must admit, when I learned that my vision was slowly deteriorating, I lost hope. I didn’t know what the future would bring. I knew that with worse vision came more accessibility barriers and was worried that these barriers would prevent me from achieving my dreams.
But my hope soon returned. I knew that I needed to make a choice. I could either feel bad about myself or do something to make a difference. I chose the second and began to plan. For me, hope is about believing the future can be better.
I wasn’t sure if there was anything I could do about my vision. Genetics had made up its mind. The science was close to a treatment, but I couldn’t count on it. That being said, many treatments were near enough to becoming reality that they would definitely affect many. This was my opportunity. I began raising money for sight-saving research, speaking at events and advocating for treatments. I’ve learned that snails move faster than medical research. It is frustrating and easy to lose hope. But, a snail’s pace is still progress!
For example, LUXTURNA®. The first FDA-approved gene therapy for an inherited retinal disease was approved in the US long before it was approved here in Canada. I’m pleased to say that it was finally approved by Health Canada in October 2020. I have the type of LCA that LUXTURNA treats, and if the provincial government agrees to fund it, I could receive this treatment soon.
The disease that causes my vision loss is advanced. LUXTURNA will come nowhere close to giving me perfect vision. I’ve learned that having hope for restored vision and hope for life after vision loss are equally important. The best parts of life are not lost with vision loss. I have an amazing life. I have a lot to be thankful for – a good job, an incredible family, fantastic friends and opportunities to participate in accessible activities like sailing and skiing. I hope that you continue to have hope for life after vision loss too.
Jack McCormick was diagnosed in high school with LCA2. He graduated in 2018 from Canada’s Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. He is a Sofia Sees Hope ambassador, helping people living with LCAs and IRDs. You can read his blog at jackdamccormick.wordpress.com