Colin can now live life to the full

A SUFFOLK man with no sight or hearing but a real zest for life has spoken of the obstacles he has to overcome on a daily basis.

A SUFFOLK man with no sight or hearing but a real zest for life has spoken of the obstacles he has to overcome on a daily basis.

Colin McDonald, who lives near Stowmarket, has Usher Syndrome - a degenerative genetic condition has left him blind and virtually deaf.

Mr McDonald, 51, is one of nearly 2,800 deafblind people living in Suffolk and spoke out to help raise the profile of Deafblind Awareness Week.

Together with Sense, the national deafblind charity, he is hoping to make people aware of some of the challenges faced by deafblind people every day.


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Mr McDonald was born with a hearing impairment but used his residual hearing to communicate. Unfortunately he began to lose his sight and at just 14 he was registered partially sighted and then blind by the time he was 24.

He was diagnosed with Usher syndrome and found coming to terms with losing his senses very hard.

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He said: “I had been very active - horse riding, skiing and had won trophies for darts. I wished I could see, but I knew there was nothing I could do about this. I just tried to keep happy by not thinking about it.”

However, Mr McDonald said things began to improve for him once Sense got involved in his life seven years ago and he now lives in a 24-hour supported flat run by the charity.

Sense has helped him to use Deafblind Manual, a form of communicating through fingerspelling, and has fitted his home with the latest assistive technology.

He said he was now really enjoying his new, independent life and had been learning to cook, take care of his own money and enjoyed going to the local deaf social club and pub.

However, his real passion is driving cars on aerodromes and flying in different types if aeroplanes.

He added: “I used to have a train set when I could see, but I now have a real passion for making model aeroplanes and cars. The best thing was when I was able to drive a real car - I had an amazing time.”

For more about Sense, visit www.sense.org.uk

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