An 11-year-old Michigan girl who is facing blindness is raising money to help others see.
Lilly Diuble has a rare genetic condition that effects her vision and her hearing. She has worn a hearing aid since she was six months old. As she ages, she could lose her vision entirely. Instead of feeling sorry for herself, however, Diuble chooses to focus her efforts on helping others.
In the last five years, Lilly has raised nearly $100,000 for the Foundation Fighting Blindness.
This spring she was recognized as one of the top 10 youth volunteers in the U.S. by the 2014 Prudential Spirit of the Community Awards.
She is an active student at Manchester Middle School, playing soccer and using an iPad to complete assignments. But her vision continues to decline.
“It’s heart-wrenching to me,” Lilly's mother, Angela Diuble, told MLive. “It’s like rooting for your kid at a softball game.”
It started with a diagnosis for a wandering right eye, but after two years of wearing a patch with no results, doctors learned that Lilly has a central retinal defect.
“As a parent it’s hard to accept that that’s something you’re going to have to deal with,” Angela said. “It’s been a long road to accept that nothing can be done. I don’t accept that blindness is the end here. There’s no making this okay.”
But Lilly’s fighting spirit has given her family and others hope. Her younger sister Abby started her own team to raise money for Vision Walk.
Her mother told MLive that she remembers when her daughter asked her two years ago, “What does it mean to really be blind? … Is that going to happen to me?”
“No, that’s not going to happen,” Angela recalled telling her. “That’s the avenue we’ve taken—from going from this bad thing is going to happen to me. We’re not going to accept that.”