Sunday 15 September 2019

Victoria Smurfit's daughter (14) praised for bravely opening up about losing her sight on Late Late Show

Evie Baxter with her mum Victoria Smurfit on The Late Late Show
Evie Baxter with her mum Victoria Smurfit on The Late Late Show
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Victoria Smurfit's daughter has been praised by viewers for opening up about being diagnosed with an eye condition which eventually leads to blindness.

Evie Baxter (14) was joined by her mum on the Late Late Show on RTE One on Friday night to reveal the impact that Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy has on her life.

The teenager first realised there was an issue when she could not see the board from the back of the classroom. She was prescribed glasses and diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed Ritalin, but nothing helped to improve her sight.

Eventually, after Victoria (44) persisted with different doctors, she was diagnosed with Stargardt’s, a rare genetic condition which causes the deterioration of the macula and surrounding retina.

Evie Baxter on The Late Late Show, RTE One
Evie Baxter on The Late Late Show, RTE One

Evie revealed that many people do not understand how it affects her life.

"It really has changed a lot of my perspective on things," she told host Ryan Tubridy. "When I tell people how bad it is a lot of people think I'm over-exaggerating because I'm a teenager and my mother's an actress."

She added, "People are quite insensitive when it comes to it. I think if they had the chance to see through my eyes they would really understand."

Speaking about the long-term impact of the disease, she became emotional. "It keeps deteriorating every day and I know my eyesight will never be as good as it is right now in this moment. It's quite sad.  It's kind of a 3am thought."

When Evie was 11 she said she searched for celebrities and other people with her condition on Goggle, but found very little, so she invented a character called 'Star Girl' who could "shoot fireworks out of her eyes". Tubridy praised her creativity.

Evie shared her story on the show to help promote the charity Fighting Blindness. 

"No one will find a cure if we all just sit on our butts and complain about it. I'm currently sitting on my butt and complaining about it. Not good!" she laughed, adding, "I'm sitting on my butt and teaching you."

Her mother encouraged viewers to donate to fightingblindness.ie

"I would like people to take away that I'm not your average girl and I'm never going to be the average girl and that we need your help," Evie said to the audience in studio and at home.

During and following the show many viewers wrote messages of support and praise for Evie on social media. Unfortunately, Victoria and her daughter were also trolled by a small minority with nasty comments. 

However, these comments were condemned by the majority of viewers, who praised the actress for being so reassuring, comforting and supportive of her daughter during the interview. 

Evie is the eldest of three children Victoria shares with her ex-husband Doug Baxter.

You can watch the full interview on RTE Player.

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