That's Life, Dolphin to the Rescue
12th Nov, 2007
"Dear That's Life" is how Sharon Cross from Middlesex started her letter to British magazine 'That's Life'.
Shortly after Dolphin received the call asking for our support and we were only too happy to help Sharon's visually impaired son James.
Read on to find out how SuperNova has transformed James's life and "Opened up his World".
"My 16 year old son James has had a really tough time over the past years. Ever since he was a toddler he was terribly short-sighted and needed glasses. But his vision kept deteriorating and when James was five, he was diagnosed with cone dystrophy. It's a rare genetic disorder where vital cells in the eyes degenerate.
But, aged 11, James became seriously ill. In hospital, tests showed he actually had an even rarer genetic condition called Senior-Loken syndrome, which causes degeneration of the cells in the kidneys as well as the eyes. Both his kidneys had failed and he would have to stay on dialysis until a donor could be found.
Sadly, although James was given a transplant a year and a half on, it failed. Now, nearly four years later, he's still waiting for another one. He's in hospital four times a week, spends over four hours a day on dialysis.
The condition has damaged James' eyes so badly, he sees everything as just a blur. He's registered blind, and attends the visual impairment unit at school. It's not been easy, but James is so determined and resilient - he's really inspirational.
He loves to study and he's doing brilliantly at school. James dreams of being a teacher and I believe he'll do it, but right now his life is severely limited. He can't go out when he wants like his mates do, or have holidays. And he gets so lonely and bored lying in hospital day after day.
That's why I'm writing, because there's one thing I know would make a huge difference to him. At his school, James uses computers fitted with special software for people with visual impairments, called SuperNova. It magnifies whatever's on the screen so he can see the details. And if his eyes get too tired, a computerised voice reads the words on screen aloud.
If I could buy James a laptop computer with the software on it, to use at home or in hospital, it would be a lifeline to the outside world for him. He'd be able to chat with pals online, even play games with them over the internet.
He'd be able to research school projects and write his homework. And during long dialysis sessions, he could watch DVDs on the laptop, or download books that the software could read to him.
But because I can't work, saving up for a laptop is impossible. It breaks my heart, because I know James often feels so cut off from the world.
Please, if you're able to help at all, it really could transform my son's life."
That's Life Magazine approached Dolphin wanting to buy James a top of the range Toshiba laptop. Dolphin were delighted to complete the package for James by supplying his favourite speech and magnification software - SuperNova. Plus like all Dolphin customers, James gets as much free product support over the phone and by email as he needs.
Not content with his 20 minutes of fame in That's Life Magazine, you can also see James this week on "60 minute Makeover" where he transforms the family house in 60 minutes, without Sharon even knowing! Find out how Sharon reacted to James throwing out her treasured furniture at 2pm on Friday 16th November on ITV.