Be­ing thank­ful for what we do have

Sunshine Coast Daily - - OUR SAY - DANIELLE FORD [email protected]­news.com.au

I DID a story this week with a woman called Shan­nyn Biggs.

Shan­nyn was di­ag­nosed with re­tini­tis pig­men­tosa, a ge­netic eye con­di­tion that causes cells in the light-sen­si­tive retina to de­gen­er­ate slowly and pro­gres­sively, just 12 weeks ago.

When she was di­ag­nosed she found out she was al­ready 80 per cent blind and the con­di­tion would even­tu­ally cause her to lose all her sight.

This di­ag­no­sis has changed her en­tire life, from hav­ing to hand in her driver li­cence to her also hav­ing to leave her job.

But rather than get down about this and feel bad for her­self, Shan­nyn is tak­ing this di­ag­no­sis in her stride and go­ing about pre­par­ing for life in the fu­ture when she loses her sight.

She said to me that her big­gest fear in her di­ag­no­sis was how it would im­pact on her chil­dren.

Sit­ting with Shan­nyn and her two daugh­ters I was amazed by the way they were go­ing about this mas­sive change in their life.

Not only is she do­ing ev­ery­thing she can to deal with her own di­ag­no­sis, she is de­ter­mined to help raise aware­ness about sight loss and help oth­ers who are go­ing through the same thing.

Some­thing Shan­nyn said to me re­ally hit me hard.

She said that be­cause she even­tu­ally won’t be able to see, she’s ap­pre­ci­at­ing ev­ery­thing she can see while she still can.

Af­ter in­ter­view­ing Shan­nyn I started think­ing about how much we take for granted in life.

If we have good health, a roof over our head and food on the ta­ble, we re­ally should count our­selves among the luck­i­est peo­ple in the world.

But rather than ap­pre­ci­at­ing all these things we do have, we can of­ten get caught up in what we don’t have. I my­self am guilty of this.

It’s a timely re­minder as Christ­mas ap­proaches and we can get caught up in the hype of presents and cel­e­bra­tions.

Does it re­ally mat­ter if we don’t get all those presents we want for Christ­mas? No, not re­ally.

What’s more im­por­tant is spend­ing time with our loved ones and ap­pre­ci­at­ing all we do have, rather than what we don’t have.

‘‘ NOT ONLY IS SHE DO­ING EV­ERY­THING SHE CAN TO DEAL WITH HER OWN DI­AG­NO­SIS, SHE IS DE­TER­MINED TO HELP RAISE AWARE­NESS ABOUT SIGHT LOSS AND HELP OTH­ERS WHO ARE GO­ING THROUGH THE SAME THING.

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