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Blind Bible Hill girl hopes to get glasses that will let her ‘see’

Rachel Yorke does a lot of her homework, plays games and listens to music on a Braille pad she has use of during the school year. She has no sight and hopes to get an Orcam device that will provide her with information most people receive through their eyes.
LYNN CURWIN/TRURO DAILY NEWS
Rachel Yorke does a lot of her homework, plays games and listens to music on a Braille pad she has use of during the school year. She has no sight and hopes to get an Orcam device that will provide her with information most people receive through their eyes. LYNN CURWIN/TRURO DAILY NEWS

BIBLE HILL, N.S.

 

Rachel Yorke can’t remember a time when she could see.

The 17-year-old Bible Hill girl was born with vision problems and completely lost all sight when she was about four, but a device called the Orcam My Eye could allow her to read labels, tell what colour her clothes are and recognize people.

“It would be very exciting to have that,” she said. “I could do a lot of things I can’t do now.”

Rachel was born with cataracts and glaucoma and while she was very young she was also diagnosed with four other major conditions that affect vision. She has had 77 procedures that required anesthetic, including having cataracts removed, artificial shunt valves installed and artificial cornea replacements.

At one point corneal ulcers resulted in such sensitivity to light that she was pulling clothing up over her face and trying to hide.

“There’s no known cause for this,” said her mother, Candace. “Because she’s had to go through so much her body shut down her growth and she’s smaller than most girls her age. She’s a pretty happy kid, though, and always has a smile.

“It would be wonderful for her to have Orcam. It would give her some independence.”

The Orcam device includes a tiny camera and speaker that attaches to a pair of glasses. A base unit, the size of a smartphone, can be carried in a pocket or handbag. A person wearing it can point out text and it will be read to them. It can also store and recall as many as 100 faces and names, letting the wearer know who is in front of them.

“Right now Rachel has no way of knowing what kind of cereal she’s picked up, or whether she has a can of soup or mushrooms,” said Candace. “We have to help her colour co-ordinate her clothing.”

Her family also has to read the menu to her at most restaurants.

“Montana’s is my favourite restaurant because they have a Braille menu,” said Rachel. “I would like to be able to go to other restaurants and read the menu.”

Rachel is a Grade 12 student at Cobequid Educational Centre and competes in track and field, with the help of a running guide. She also enjoys swimming. She has a lot of spirit and with the Orcam device many more doors would open for her.

The goal is to raise $8,000. Anyone wishing to make a donation can send an etransfer to rachel_yorke@outlook.com or give through the Go Fund Me campaign at

www.gofundme.com/orcam-glasses-for-rachel

 

lynn.curwin@trurodaily.com

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