His name is Thomas Reilly Gault, and, typical of grandparents, we’re proud of him. At 15, Reilly is known as a math whiz, and one application of this is his participation in speed-cubing contests, where he solves different of configurations of Rubik’s cubes as fast as he can.
One of his passions is music, with an emphasis in percussion. He is the lead drummer in his high school band, and plays the snare drums in the marching band. He also plays the marimba, piano (playing dinner music in hotels) and cello (playing the bridal march in weddings). He loves being part of the worship team in his congregation.
An interesting detail in all of this is that Reilly is legally blind. Glasses bring his vision up to 20/500 in each eye, which helps, but isn’t all that great. He uses a cane at school and has learned braille. With all of this, he looks forward to a career in engineering and music, and would love to be part of a youth ministry team someday. Needless to say, Reilly faces unique challenges as he walks into his dreams.
Recently, while browsing the Internet, Reilly discovered the new technology of electronic glasses that give people with impaired vision the chance to see as clearly as most of us do. He found “eSight” and became excited about the possibilities. His parents joined him and they contacted the organization and found that he would be a prime candidate for the glasses.
The major set-back in this possibility is that a pair of these wonder glasses costs $10,000, a price beyond the means of Reilly’s parents (my daughter Kristin and son-in-law, Jon Gault). But the organization helps family members engage their community to raise funds for this project.
So a few weeks ago, Jon and Kristin, after consulting with local government officials and the school system, took the plunge and set up a donation site. Reilly wrote the essay for the site. Here’s a part of his description:
“Until a few months ago, I did not know that there might have been a possibility that I could be able to see like other people. I discovered eSight one day, while browsing the internet, trying to learn about possible cures for different types of blindness and visual impairments. I immediately told my family, and they seemed interested right away. I could not get this off of my mind, as it seemed that my disability could possibly become an ability. As you can tell, I am really stoked about this idea, and I would love it if you would be willing to embark on this journey with me, this journey that could change my life.
“I was born with albinism and optic nerve hypoplasia, where the back of my retinas, and my optic nerves, were not fully developed. When I was younger, around 1st grade, my vision was stable at 20/100. After 2nd grade, my vision deteriorated to beyond legal blindness, which is 20/200. It kept deteriorating, for some unexplainable reason, until it stabilized around 20/500, with correction (glasses). My parents raised me with the mindset that I could do anything I put my mind to, regardless of my disability. For example, a nurse told my parents that, because of my low vision, I would not be able to play any ball sports in the future. My parents promptly enrolled me in soccer, which I went on to play from kindergarten to my freshmen year of high school. After that, marching band took over.”
To read the rest of Reilly’s essay, go to his eSight page.
I love to read about Jesus instantly healing the blind, and I believe in the possibility of that happening today, although I confess I’ve never witnessed it or even heard of a case. But I’m also willing to let God work his sight-giving miracles through modern technology.
I can’t wait for Reilly to be able to clearly see his mom and dad, his brother and sister, and, yes, his grandparents for the first time.