Imagine being married to a woman whose face you’ve never seen. Or being called “daddy” by your son, and not knowing what he looks like. Imagine living every day without the blessing of sight—something that most of us take for granted without even realizing it.
That’s the reality for Gene Purdie, who was born with Stargardt’s disease. It’s an eye disease that effects the retina, and allows him to only see faint glimpses around the edges of whatever he looks at.
Though he was born with the condition, Gene wasn’t formally diagnosed until he was 16 years old. He went on to meet the love of his life, Joy, and after getting married, the two welcomed their son, Lincoln.
The only trouble is that Gene had still never seen what his family looks like.
Facebook: Joy Christina
Joy was watching the Rachael Ray Show one day when one of Rachael’s guest was a woman with Stargardt’s disease.
She hadn’t been able to see her sister’s smile in over 10 years. With the help of a special pair of electronic glasses, the guest on Rachael’s show was actually able to see! The technology is engineered by a company called eSight, which specializes in revolutionary eyewear technology that allows people with visual impairment to see again.
Watching it all unfold on the TV screen in front of her, Joy was completely overwhelmed. She wrote a letter to the show, in hopes that they might give her family the same amazing opportunity.
Those prayers were answered, and the family of three from Denver made their way to New York City to appear on the show.
Gene waited anxiously on stage for the eSight glasses to be slipped over his head.
Once they were on, the audience and everyone in the studio weren’t sure at first if the technology had worked. Then Gene looked toward his wife and the words just slipped out of his mouth, “She’s pretty.”
As you can imagine, the couple was totally overwhelmed with emotion, and Gene was just soaking up all of the full images of things he’s been “piecing together, a little at a time” for 16 years.
To cap it all off, Rachael Ray then announced that the company eSight is gifting Gene and his family with the $15,000 glasses! Now he has the opportunity to see his wife every day, and watch his son grow up in ways that he’s never been able to before.
Sight or no sight, one thing is for sure, Gene is full of life. It’s clear that his inability to see the world around him has never hindered his joy or spirit.