Most of us live in a pretty awesome world, living good lives with healthy bodies. But there’s plenty others who aren’t so privileged, and thanks to bad numbers in the genetic lottery everyday life can be something of a struggle. Like being blind, for example. Can you imagine how hard life would be? It certainly was for this guy, who for 16 years hadn’t even seen his own family. Then everything changed.
Meet Gene Purdie
The man in question is Gene Purdie, an otherwise regular guy from Denver. He had a steady job, an adoring wife, even a baby boy. His life was normal, average, run-of-the-mill, standard. Oh, except for one thing: he’s totally blind.
How Blind Is He?
It all started 16 years ago, when Purdie was diagnosed with a rare disease. It was Stargardt’s disease, and within a horrifically short space of time he was legally blind. He could see the world, but everything was just a vague, blurred outline to him. Remember that episode of Black Mirror where the guy gets “blocked”? That was his life, all the time.
What The Heck Is Stargardt’s Disease?
It’s not common at all, but it can strike anyone and at any time. Doctors still don’t know what causes it, but the effects are pretty plain: rapid degeneration of the center of the retina. This part, called the macula, is responsible for focus and straight-ahead vision. So if it ain’t working, it’s like looking at everything through several panes of frosted glass.
It wasn’t until after his eyesight degenerated that he met the love of his life, Joy. From the beginning he couldn’t see her properly – a blind date in the truest sense – but how she looked was not important to him. They couldn’t get enough of each other, and were soon married. Just over 10 years later, they had their first child, a kid named Lincoln.
Enter Rachel Ray, the loveable host of her own hit talk show on CBS. Purely by chance, Joy had seen an episode of hers where another person with Stargardt’s disease had been given eSight glasses and had their sight completely restored. Joy realized that Gene might have a chance to do the same and wrote to Rachel, begging her to get Gene on the show. Rachel Ray didn’t hesitate – of course he could come on.
I’m On TV
After 16 years, the moment had finally arrived. Purdie may have been nervous about his life changing forever, but he didn’t show it. He and his wife chatted with Rachel about the difficulties he had faced, and he seemed completely relaxed until they presented him with his new eSight glasses.
These glasses might not give you x-ray vision, but they come pretty damn close. The brainiacs at eSight, a digital eyewear company, had developed technology specifically to treat this disease and give sufferers back their crystal clear vision. The only problem was that this technology was by no means cheap – around $15,000 dollars for the regular model.
The Magical Moment
As soon as the eSight representative slipped the glasses on to Purdie’s head, he completely lost it. He stared around in amazement, at a world he thought he’d never be able to see again. He was shocked and overwhelmed, and finally he looked at his wife.
That’s What He Said
After all this time, Purdie only had two words for her. As he cracked a huge smile and she broke into tears, he simply said “you’re beautiful.” It was the words every girl wants to hear, and he meant it. The audience went wild. All of our hearts melted.
See It For Yourself
Now you can see a clip of this incredible emotional rollercoaster for yourself, and share the amazing joy of these two people. Just try and stop the feels welling up in your own eyes. Just try and not blubber like a baby. Spoiler alert: you will blubber like a baby.