Can you help this family raise money and save their son’s sight?
- Credit: Gregg Brown
A Colchester family is appealing for help in raising £22,000 for urgent treatment which could save their young son’s eyesight.
Eli Baker, who will turn two next month, is losing his sight due to Nystagmus, a condition which causes constant movement of the eyes.
When he was just seven-months-old, Eli was diagnosed with the condition, after his parents Michelle and Darren Baker noticed his eyes were constantly flickering.
Michelle, 27, said: “At first we thought the flickering was normal, Eli was our first child so we just thought it was his way of trying to focus. We then started to notice that he was very slow at doing things and had little coordination so we took him to the doctors.”
He was referred to the Essex County Hospital, and then to Great Ormand Street Hospital for a genetic test.
While Eli was being tested for Nystagmus, he and his father Darren, 33, were also diagnosed with Waardenburgs syndrome, a condition that affects facial features.
Darren and Michelle’s second son, Oscar, who was born earlier this year, was also born with Waardenburg syndrom.
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Because of Eli’s complex condition glasses won’t help his sight. “His eyes themselves are perfect but due to the constant flicker from the Nystagmus, his brain can’t cope which stops him from being able to see,” said Michelle.
“Because Eli can’t see very well he has been slow in learning how to talk, we have had to teach him sign language instead, so he has a way of telling us when he is hungry. The thing that helps Eli get by is his amazing memory, because he struggles to see he has to remember where things are.”
Eli has regular visits to Great Ormund Street and Moorfields eye hospital, but treatment in the UK is limited.
Eli’s parents have found a surgeon in California that specialises in treatment that stops eyes from shaking.
There is a chance that Eli could need two operations, at a cost of £22,000.
The family has already raised just under £13,000, but is appealing for further donations to help them to save their son’s sight.
Michelle said: “It will change everything, it will be the little things that would matter. Like being able to play ball with his brother, things that other people take for granted. And seeing our faces properly for the first time. It will be amazing.”
“Eli absolutely loves cars, he loves playing with them and he also loves motor bikes. It is really sad because without the operation he will never be able to drive.”