I'm Jo from Newcastle, I'm 40 years old and I was born profoundly deaf. I had my 'eyes' and I used them for lipreading, scanning the world around me... & being deaf was just who I was. We, as deaf people, treasure our eyes so it was absolutely heartbreaking to discover I had Usher Syndrome. I became registered blind in my 20s and looking back over my childhood/growing up - it's obvious I had Usher - I put 'linking a friends arm' down to the fact that I was lipreading and was a little clumsy!
It takes a huge amount of courage living life as a deafblind person and my motto is 'one day at a time' and never to put myself in situations that make me feel uncomfortable. Instead I focus on all those things I do enjoy - chatting and laughing with those close to me and long walks in the countryside while my guide dog, Matt, runs free.
Recently I had bilateral cochlea implants (http://youtu.be/IyDdVJ81Ixs) which were life changing and the youtube video of the 'switch on' went viral - it was heartwarming how people across the globe admitted to taking their senses for granted. Like the Watt family, it has always been a mission of mine to raise awareness and 'talk' about it. 20 years ago, Usher felt like a dirty word and how wrong I was. It's because I have Usher and I'm deafblind that I have such a positive attitude ... nothing is to stop the younger generation of having the careers of their dreams and reaching for the stars. Life is truly how you make it.
A smile goes a long way and it touches my heart every time I see the beautiful and inspiring Molly Watt smile... and the rest of the world smile with her!
The more awareness of Usher Syndrome we raise, together - along with our families & loved ones, we are one step closer to the mission of The Molly Watt Trust