What It’s Like to be a Blind Mum

Growing up I enjoyed looking after my younger siblings and cousins, so I knew I wanted children of my own one day.  However, when I was 17 years old I was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa and told that I would lose my sight in the matter of weeks, months or years.

I stopped dreaming about having my own family again until I met my future husband at the age of 21.  Soon after I got married I was blessed with my first beautiful daughter.  This was also when I noticed that my eyesight was deteriorating for the first time since my RP diagnosis.  Because of this, I became a very hands-on mother.   I needed to feel things as I couldn’t rely on my eyes to see.  Moreover, when my daughter started to walk I had to find ways to be able to locate her.  I’d dress her in brightly coloured clothes and shoes that squeaked.

Four years later I was blessed once more with my second beautiful daughter, and unfortunately found that my sight was deteriorating further.  My eldest daughter was a big help in being my eyes. For example, she would read to her baby sister, which was something I could no longer do.  Being a VI mum of two girls was challenging at first, but I taught my daughters to be aware of my sight loss, and they have good knowledge of my eye conditions and mobility aids like the white cane.  I feel confident to rely on my daughters to guide me and give me verbal cues when I’m out in public or at home.  I’m very proud of them both.

Finally, I’d like to say to all VI mum out there that you are doing an incredible job.  Keep on being the great mum that you are!  If you’re vision impaired and thinking about starting a family with your partner it’s natural to have lots of questions.  A genetics counsellor would be your first point of call if you’re worried about passing on your condition.  I would also speak to other visually impaired parents.  There are plenty of blind parent’s forums online to ask questions and seek advice and information.

What can I say?  Being a mum is an amazing experience and I love being a mum to both my wonderful and perfect daughters.

Image of Bhavini in a bright red dress with her daughters.

Written by Bhavini Makwana

Edited by Ray Calamaan


Joanna Lally’s Big Half Marathon Success

The Beast from the East certainly had us all on weather watch throughout last week. However, Saturday (3rd March) arrived and the snow melted away and you wouldn’t have even known we’d had any of the white stuff in London! With the weather looking more promising it was confirmed that the very first Vitality Big Half Marathon would go ahead on Sunday 4th March.

Masuma Snowman for Blog Article
Photo of a snowman wearing a hat and scarf made by Masuma Ali during the week The Beast of the East brought snow chaos to the UK.

Wrapped up in my many layers I joined Team ELVis at our spectator spot by Bermondsey Station, which was mile 8 for the runners, to cheer on our amazing Big Half runner Joanna Lally. Over 11,000 runners lined up by Tower Bridge for the start of the race and finished at the iconic Cutty Sark in Greenwich.

We had the honour of seeing the four-time British Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah run past us before streams of other runners started to arrive. It was fantastic seeing Joanna at mile 8, who was in very good spirits. She has done an excellent job in raising over £600 for us to be able to continue running more technology group sessions to blind and partially sighted people. There is still time to donate and help Joanna to reach her target of £1000. You can donate on https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/joannalally1.

We arrived at Greenwich Park to meet our runner Joanna as well as Jessica Beal who ran for South East London Vision, our sister charity covering the 6 boroughs south of the River Thames. Greenwich Park was a burst of energy with the Big Festival in full swing with live music and plenty of food stalls. Both Jessica and Joanna were thrilled at their achievements and rightly so as it was both their first half marathon. Joanna finished in 2 hours, 26 minutes and 30 seconds and Jessica in 2 hours, 24 minutes and 56 seconds.

Many congratulations to both ladies, you’ve done yourself and all of us proud!

Photo of Joanna Lally smiling and holding up her Big Half Marathon medal.

Written by Masuma Ali

Christine’s Fun-to-Make Fairy Cakes

Here’s another recipe I’d like to share with you.  I hope you enjoy making these fairy cakes because I always have such fun making them with my nieces and nephews, and I must say there is always words about who is going to lick the spoons!

Fairy Cakes

110g Self Raising Flour

110g Caster Sugar

110g Butter or Margarine, softened at room temperature

2 Medium Eggs

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1-2 tbsp Milk


2-3 tbsp Water

2-3 drops of Food Colouring

300g Icing Sugar

Hundreds and Thousands, or other cake decorations


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C, 350C Fan or Gas 4. Use 2×12 hole fairy cake tins with paper cases.
  1. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl. Beat in the eggs a little at a time, and stir in the vanilla extract.
  1. Fold in the flour using a metal spoon. Add a little milk until the mixture is a soft dropping consistency, spoon the mixture into the paper cases until they are about half full.
  1. Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes, or until golden-brown on top. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin
  1. Sift the icing sugar into a large mixing bowl and stir in enough water to create a smooth mixture. Stir in the food colouring
  1. To ice the fairy cakes, drizzle the icing over the cakes, sprinkle with decorations and set aside until the icing hardens.
Fairy Cakes from Flickr.jpg
Photo of four fairy cakes decorated with hundreds and thousands.


Written by Christine Edmead