Tuesday 27 June 2017

'I lost the sight in my eye' - country music star Kayleigh Cullinan on life after vicious assault by bullies

Survivor: Kayleigh Cullinan was left blind in one eye after an attack by a group of girls when she was 15. Photo: Caroline Quin.
Survivor: Kayleigh Cullinan was left blind in one eye after an attack by a group of girls when she was 15. Photo: Caroline Quin.
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Country musician Kayleigh Cullinan has said her life has been changed forever following an attack by school bullies, which left her blind in one eye.

The Dublin singer (21), from Kimmage, had been the target of bullies for a number of years prior to the 2010 incident, which left her with permanent sight loss.

Speaking to the Sunday World, Kayleigh recalled the day she was confronted on the street by the group as well as a dozen other spectators and was attacked.

In the incident, Kayleigh's ponytail was pulled back with such force, her retina detached.

Kayleigh Cullinan featured on RTE's The Voice in 2015
Kayleigh Cullinan featured on RTE's The Voice in 2015

"I lost the sight in my eye and have had one operation after another over the last seven years. Everything that could have gone wrong with my eye has gone wrong after every procedure. I had a one-in-a-million hemorrhage that they had to deal with and I have had a constant migraine that isn't nice, but I've learned to live with it," she said speaking to the publication.

The singer said her weight became the main ammunition for the group of bullies who taunted and harassed her with cruel names.

"I gained weight as a teenager due to an overactive thyroid and it made me a target for bullies. I was being called 'Whaley Kayleigh' and everything else under the sun. But the way I look at it there are people worse off than me," she said.

Following the incident, Kayleigh was forced to lie face down in the hospital and in bed at home for 23 hours every day.

"I couldn't watch TV or DVDs or read a book, so to stop myself going completely bonkers I would listen non-stop to my iPod. I was never a great singer but I don't know what happened, but I actually developed a really good singing voice."

"I always wanted to do music but up until that point I didn't have the talent, but music then seemed to pick me and it has come good."

Kayleigh has now realised her dream and has released her debut album Make a Wish, which she said is brimming with personal songs.

"All the songs have personal and deep meaning to me."

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