Dave Steele is a poet and songwriter who was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa in 2013. Here is a poem he wrote for RNIB's 150th anniversary.
"It was only just 4 years ago, when the news of blindness came.
And the one thing that I knew for sure, is my life would never be the same.
The thing that hurt the most that day, was told I’d never drive again.
I knew one day get used to it, just didn’t know quite when.
My purpose in the future seemed, to me now so unclear.
If anything was positive, then I refused to hear.
Retreated from the outside world, for feeling vulnerable.
Affected by the brightest light, as well as slightest dull.
Frustration grew inside me, as the bruises they increased.
As some friends slipped away from me, my social life deceased.
I tried to get the help I’d need, but no one seemed to listen.
To keep a roof above our heads, became my only mission.
To get most basic of support, the system made me wait.
I knew that one day help would come, and prayed it’s not too late.
My wife picked up the pieces, whilst my children looked afraid.
This blindness taking things we’d built and future plans we’d made.
I reached out through a message, to the great RNIB.
I didn’t know these strangers, would soon feel like family.
I listened to their stories, all so similar to mine.
In seeing all their struggles, made me realise I’d be fine.
Then one night as I lay in bed, my goal was clear to see.
Use poems to open hearts and minds, my Stand By Me RP.
The verses flowed from pen to page, poured out my fragile heart.
And instantly I knew that this, would only be the start.
Spent each day writing poems, for the ones who feel alone.
We’d hold hands now together, take first steps outside our homes.
I pushed my words around the world, in to their warm embrace.
They seemed to mean so much to them and helped their world to face.
The messages received each day, from all my new found friends.
Began to help my pride return, the hole in my heart mends.
A dream I never dreamed before, to print my words in book.
To give back all the things to us, that this RP has took.
So here I am now asking you, to help me change my life.
And lift the pain of blindness, that sometimes can cut like knife.
But all the while my journey in to darkness must progress.
The symptom of this RP is, we all see less and less.
Although my future fades now, like the world in front of me.
I’ll change how they all view us, make them see how we all see.
I’ll try to help those near and far, who wait for distant cure.
Live for today, not worry, bout a future still unsure.
So share my words around the globe, then one day they’ll all know.
For this is the beginning and we have a way to go."
By Dave Steele ©