VISION LOSS: Shannyn Biggs is getting help from her daughters Rachyl Elliott, 21, and Truth Wiggins, 12.
VISION LOSS: Shannyn Biggs is getting help from her daughters Rachyl Elliott, 21, and Truth Wiggins, 12. Warren Lynam

Shock diagnosis changes Coast mum's life

A SHOCK diagnosis 12 weeks ago completely changed the course of Shannyn Biggs' life.

The Maroochydore mother was told she is 80 per cent blind due to a condition called retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic eye condition that causes cells in the light-sensitive retina to degenerate slowly and progressively.

"If you make a circle with your fingers and put them around your eyes like glasses, this is approximately what I can see," Shannyn said.

"I hadn't noticed how much I'd lost sight because it was so gradual until the months just before my diagnosis when I noticed I was bumping into things quite a bit."

Because of her diagnosis Shannyn has had to hand in her driver's licence and leave her job as a driver, but the thing that's hit her hardest is the thought of not seeing her children's faces again, and how it has impacted their lives.

"Eventually this condition will progress and I'll be completely blind," she said.

"My son has a two-year job contract in Canada, so he wants me to go over there so I can see his face again because we don't know if I'll still have any sight when he comes back.

"My oldest daughter (Rachel) has moved back home with her daughter to help out and Truth is starting high school next year and I'm not able to drive her to school or activities."

Having completed an eight-week quality living program with Vision Australia, Shannyn said she couldn't begin to explain how helpful the organisation has been.

"I've learnt mobility training with my cane and I use it quite regularly, even around the house," she said.

Shannyn said she hoped her story could help bring awareness to how people with low or no vision experience life.



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