Thursday 22 February 2018

Little Daniel's race to see sights before he goes blind

Daniel Haslam with his sister Niamh
Daniel Haslam with his sister Niamh

Louise Walsh

THIS little boy has one wish - to see the Pyramids and the Eiffel Tower before he goes completely blind.

Daniel Haslam (8) has just been diagnosed with optical atrophy, which means he will lose his sight within the next six years.

Daniel Haslam with his sister Niamh and with his mum Carol and dad Kevin
Daniel Haslam with his sister Niamh and with his mum Carol and dad Kevin

Daniel, who is also autistic, has experienced hearing loss and is awaiting the results of a genetic disorder, which could complicate his health matters even further.

The young boy received the eyesight diagnosis less then a month ago after mum Carol started investigating why his prescription for glasses was getting stronger every six months.

"We got him checked when he was four years old and got him reading glasses. However, his prescription was constantly changing with every six-month check-up," she said.

"From March to September last year, he went from being able to watch the TV from the couch to having to stand eight inches away from it.

Daniel Haslam with his sister Niamh
Daniel Haslam with his sister Niamh

"Eventually, I got an appointment with a specialist in Temple Street, who diagnosed optical atrophy. They also raised red flags in relation to his hearing.

"I had always put down little hearing things to autism, but Daniel has experienced unusual hearing loss, from the low tones to the high tones, which means he doesn't hear conversations that well. We have, thankfully, managed to get hearing aids for him."

A spokeswoman for the Eiffel Tower
A spokeswoman for the Eiffel Tower

However, the eyesight loss is irreversible and Carol and her husband, Kevin, have decided to try to bring Daniel to as many places as he wants to see as possible,

The couple, who recently moved to Ratoath, Co. Meath from Dublin, are also awaiting results on genetic tests, which could also alter his long-term health dramatically.

"We were told that the optic nerve from the eye to the brain is dying, and Daniel may have up to six years left of vision - we're not sure," said Carol.


"He was very upset about it and was asking heartbreaking questions as to why he has to go blind.

"He's even wondering how he could manage to eat his food when he's blind because he wouldn't see it on the plate.

"I've told him that we'll bring him on as many adventures to as many places as we can and asked him where he'd like to see.

"We expected him to say EuroDisney, but he is mad into his geography and wants to see structures like the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramids, Big Ben, places like that."

The community of Meath, as well as Daniel's school in Blanchardstown, Co Dublin and his football club, HHFC Huntstown, Hartstown, have started fundraising to help raise the costs of completing the bucket list.

"The support we've been receiving has been unbelievable and we'd just like to say a big thank you to everyone."

The fundraising drive, set up by Carol's friends has already amassed over half of the €5,000 target and anyone who would like to help can access it here

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