Middlesex Association for the Blind provides support for blind, partially sighted and deaf/blind people. The support provide through Harrow Giving, has made an enormous difference in ensuring that they can still get to isolated people in Harrow, who also have visual impairment.
When Parry started losing his sight, the rehabilitation officers at Harrow local referred him to Middlesex Association for the Blind (MAB). “Raheel is the person who inspired me to get to where I am today,” Parry enthuses. “I needed my head sorting out. As I started losing my sight, I felt like it was degenerating on a daily basis. I could feel my reading powers were decreasing. I would wake each day fearing how little I would be able to see and what sight I would be left with. It felt very rapid, and I felt scared and depressed by it. I used to play bridge, but I obviously had to stop that. I had to get used to a whole lot of things. I used to be a go-getter. I worked in small businesses and I was always busy. When I couldn’t do many things in the business anymore, I relied more and more on my wife. Then when she ended in hospital with a triple heart bypass and a stroke, and became disabled, I had to retire and look after her. My spirits at that stage were very low.
After contacting MAB, Raheel came around with a radio for me as I had stopped being able to watch TV. He sat with me for an hour and he just listened as I talked. Raheel came to see me 6 or 7 times that year. And then one day he said to me, “Parry, you don’t need me anymore.” I had gone from being half empty glass, to being a half full one. To this day, I am not sure how it happened, or what happened exactly, but it was as if something just clicked inside me, and today I find myself full of joy. I am a little afraid that it is going to disappear again and that I will find myself in that place of despair again.
Other things have blossomed in my life now. I go to the day centre regularly to speak to people. I was also the first person to go back to the synagogue when it opened after the pandemic. And then one day I had a phone call from the synagogue, “Parry, we want to give you an award, for coming every Saturday in rain or sun, you are an inspiration!” So now my name is up on the board at the Synagogue. I am quite thrilled by this, as I was never really a religious person. I was always too busy working to go to the synagogue. Now, I have taken up dancing at the synagogue too – people have to hold the Bible for me. It’s nice for me that everyone says, “You are always happy and smiling, Parry”. And I have to say that so much of this is due to MAB. Raheel did this all without talking, just by listening to me.
David (an MAB volunteer), comes to me every Friday and takes me out for a walk. Now, when I go to the Day Centre, I talk to everyone and I make suggestions to help them. I say two things to people about their eyes… Firstly, go to the Opticians, and secondly, if you need them, go to MAB.