Living with a disability is a challenge not all of us will have to face. Still, those who do must find creative ways to adapt. That was the case for Gene Purdie out of Denver, Colorado who had been suffering from Stargardt’s disease since he was a teenager. Stargardt’s disease is a rare ailment which causes the retina to deteriorate and makes the center of one’s vision go blurry.
Despite his disability, Gene always remained active with his family. According to his wife Joy, he was still a more enthusiastic and skilled chef than she was. Although the family had mostly adapted to Gene’s disease, their life changed one day after Joy saw something incredible on television.
After watching the Rachael Ray show, Joy saw that Ray had offered to help a viewer with Starsgardt’s disease. They did a demonstration on the show that day of a technology that could help restore sight to essentially normal levels.
After what she saw, Joy was moved to write Ray a long and passionate letter on behalf of her husband. In her letter, Joy wrote that she “literally began shaking and crying for the next hour or more at the thought of my husband being able to see my face for the first time, to see our son for the first time.”
As it turns out, Ray did pick the Purdies to appear on the show along with their adorable one-year-old boy, Lincoln. During the show, Gene told Ray that he had waited for 15 years for some kind of technology to become available to help him with his condition. The solution was a prosthetic eye device with HD cameras in it, all designed to provide a customized image for the wearer. Once the device is put over Gene’s face, he’s able to see his wife and child for the first time while the video feed is broadcast to the room as well.
This story is straightforward enough but the moment itself is incredible to witness. By the end of it, there’s not a dry set of eyes in the room—and there are even a couple smaller surprises at the end of the clip for those who watch the entire thing. Stories like these inspire us for so many reasons. Throughout his entire life, Gene remained hopeful and active and never let his disease get in the way of his love for his family. To see that repaid with the generosity shown in this clip is enough to tug at anyone’s heartstrings.
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