At 12 months old, Bec already had permanent damage to her eyes
When she was just 12 months old, Bec was diagnosed with Retinopathy of Prematurity – permanent damage to her eyes resulting from the higher levels of oxygen she needed to keep her alive as a premature baby.
When Bec turned 25, things started to change.
Through school she had a small amount of usable vision and she was determined to do things like any other kid her age. Bec was able to manage with just basic items to assist her vision, like a magnifying glass with a light and a computer with high contrast settings.
She also developed a passion for martial arts – particularly Karate – and rose through the ranks to eventually achieve a black belt. Bec studied a Certificate IV in Fitness at TAFE to support her passion for martial arts teaching and training.
Despite her low vision, life was going well for Bec and she was immensely proud of her achievements. But when Bec turned 25, things rapidly started to change for the worse.
“The first thing I noticed was that my computer screen was constantly flickering. But then I started noticing that other light sources did the same,” she said.
Nevertheless, Bec continued pursuing her passion for martial arts, even taking part in her first national Judo competition, representing Queensland in the state team. She felt a sense of total elation about being able to compete without any problems.
But on her flight home from the competition, tragedy struck. Bec’s retina had detached during the flight and despite having intensive eye surgery, her vision didn’t improve. Her vision had deteriorated to the point where she could see no more than a smoky haze.
“It was a big kick in the guts and I just crashed,” Bec said.
Almost instantly, Bec sank into a deep depression.