Toby’s story

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I was diagnosed with Stargardt’s in my mid-teens. It was a big blow, especially as I had to give up my beloved ball sports as my sight deteriorated. Strangely as it now seems, though, I decided to keep my condition secret from my friends and teachers for a long time, and pretend nothing was wrong. Attitudes were perhaps less forgiving in those days than now, but I think it was as much about not wanting to admit my situation to myself. I suppose it was natural in a way, but I think my determined effort to not come to terms with my condition did hold me back for quite a while.

I did manage to get myself to university, and it proved to be a turning-point. I took up athletics in place of cricket and tennis, which I really enjoyed. Afterwards I trained as a chartered accountant, and now work for the National Audit Office in London. I am married with two teenage sons and live in Kent. As it turns out, I can actually do a lot more than I ever thought I would be able to at my age. For example, I go to the cinema and theatre, and actually play a lot of sport, including golf and even cricket with my sons. My top tip for those newly diagnosed is to seek help from friends and charities of which there are many. Get all the help you can as early as you can, and you’ll be able to enjoy life to the full!