Seeing the Grand Canyon

By DirectlyTo

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DirectlyTo has partnered with Sara Hampton of South Charleston, WV to help make a dream come true for Mr. Ahmad Shafi. Ahmad suffers from Retinitis Pigmentosa, which is an inherited disease that causes blindness. One of Ahmad's dreams is to see the Grand Canyon before he loses his sight permanently. Read and hear Ahmad's story and donate to this worthy cause:

My name is Ahmad Shafi. I’m a 10th grader in the small community of South Charleston, WV. I am also the older brother to four siblings: a younger sister and three wild and awesome little brothers, all of whom look up to me. At the age of twelve I was diagnosed with a rare eye condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa. It is a condition of the rods and cones of the eyes and most often starts with night blindness. It eventually leads to complete blindness. There currently is no cure and no determination of how fast this condition will progress. This visual condition has impacted my life in many ways both negatively and positively.

Within the past few years, I have learned to manage my sight and accept my condition for what it is -- especially my night blindness. I’ve learned to overcome and compensate for simple obstacles others might take for granted, like an evening out, or a walk to my seat in a dark theater. I have taken it upon myself to learn and use braille, and I use my white cane as a guide. I miss playing with my siblings and neighborhood friends on late summer nights, but the biggest disadvantage of my condition is that I probably will never be able to drive my dream car, the Ferrari.

Each year I get an eye exam that includes a visual field test, and this year’s results were no different from others, except that my ophthalmologist says I have a small decrease in my overall vision. I have a strong desire to travel before I completely lose my vision. I have never been out of country; nor have I seen much of the beauty and history that our country offers. I dream of seeing the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the great California redwoods, the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, and a Florida beach at sunrise. My greatest dream of vision, though, is to see the magnificent Grand Canyon.

So many times we humans take our good health, limbs, and even our organs for granted, until we no longer have them, or they no longer work the way they should. I can honestly say I don’t think there are many situations as scary as having a rare disorder that you know will eventually rob you of your sight. Nevertheless, these are the cards I was dealt, and I will not let my lack of sight stop me from achieving my goals. Having the opportunity to travel before I completely lose my sight would be a great comfort to me, because I would hold in my mind a memory and vision of the beautiful places I had seen. That memory could never be taken!

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The Project FAQs

What is included in the trip?:

Our goal is to purchase the following for Ahmad.

Airfare

Transportation

Hotel Accommodation

Helicopter and Airplane Tours

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