Eve’s Story – She lost her sight, lost her confidence, but with the help of Sense she got her old self back

Lady sitting in chair and smilingEve

I grew up in Bethnal Green and was an only child. My father died suddenly two months before I was born, so when I was born, I only had my Mum and my Nan. My Nan brought me up because Mum had to work. That’s just how it was.

I grew up with hearing problems, during the Blitz in London. I’d be in a shelter, laying there while they put drops in my ears and the bombs were falling. It was a nightmare. So I’ve been hard of hearing my whole life, but it just got worse as I got older.

Eve’s hearing and vision gradually deteriorated

After the war, I moved with my husband to Stevenage.

I got a job at one of the factories doing wiring. On my first day, it wasn’t until near lunchtime that I realised I should have been in the one next door! I know it sounds silly but I worked in the wrong place all morning and no one knew.

Five years ago I had cancer and then a stroke. I lost everything on one side: my sight, the arm went, leg, everything. For about a year, I don’t think I left here.

It’s all one side. So I hear one way and I see one way. With television, I see half, so it’s sometimes muddling, judging who said what.

Without Sense, I don’t think I’d be here. I know that sounds silly, but if you’d seen me then, I don’t think I would have got through it the way I did without this help. That is the truth.

It was at this dark time in her life that Eve started receiving support from two Sense Communicator Guides, Tina and Angela, who visit her on different days each week.

Eve sharing cup of tea and conversation with Tina Shackell

Tina came just after the stroke, about five years ago. She’s been with me all this time. I don’t know what I would have done without her. I don’t know how other people manage who don’t get help like this.

It’s turned my life around from nothing to doing things.

The return of Eve’s confidence took time, but step by step it grew

I wasn’t sure about having help from Sense at first. But Tina would come and we’d sit and chat. I got used to her and quite looked forward to her coming along. She used to say “Well, ok, maybe you don’t want to go out, but let’s just have a little walk around and go downstairs. Then we went outside to the car, then we went for a trip. And it grew from there.”

It’s up to me what I want to do and Angela and Tina help me to do it. We go shopping, go on a trip, have a chat in a café, whatever I fancy really. I’m also a member of a blind club and go to that every Tuesday.

Eve has come a long way, from when she first started getting support from her Sense Communicator Guides and has now been on her first Sense Holiday!

I went on a Sense Holiday, it was absolutely fantastic, it really was.

Oh, it was a lovely holiday. It was a lovely place. We went out every day. We played bowling – and I won!

There were a lot of us. The whole thing was fantastic. Because you’re all together and in the same boat. And we went to so many places. Oh, it was lovely. It was one of those holidays that stays with you.

I wish more people knew about Sense. I wish there were more ways of getting through to other people that are deafblind out there, because I think it would make such a difference to their lives as well. If they don’t know that the support is there, they can’t ask for it, can they? So if the word was spread further, I think it would be good.

To find out more about Individual Support, click here.

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