Ep 1: An Eye Fit for Liberty | SEARCH ON

As a parent you do anything you can for your child. I guess I just went one step further. I had such a great pregnancy with Liberty. We had had scans, and nothing came up. – But every time we got a scan she had her hand over her eye. It was like she knew. – There was an issue called microphthalmia. – Her eye that she can’t see out of is 40% smaller than her other eye.

And you need to fill that void with a prosthetic. If you don’t have that prosthetic eye in there your face will collapse. As a father, I didn’t know how to deal with it. You know, what do you do, you can’t fix it. And some of the appointments were horrendous. One of the ocularists that we saw the mold got stuck. Ashleigh was bear-hugging her while he was trying to pull it off. To get it out he basically just ripped it out.

She was trembling, it was pretty horrific. Sorry… And that was it for me. I wasn’t putting her through any of that ever again. – We literally got home and he was on the computer. – I wanted to know how to start making prosthetic eyes myself for my daughter. I was like, yeah well maybe we should just let the professionals do it. He just said to me, look what a professional just did to our daughter. I can do it better and I can do it without hurting her. That’s when he found the John Pacey-Lowrie video. – I dug into it and would stop the video and look at what John was using. And I pieced together parts of the process to be able to do it the best that I could with the things that I had. It was really frustrating.

I’d get 3/4 way through making a perfect eye. And in the last bit of the process I’d stuff up. But I knew each step, I was getting a step closer to making one. The first time Ashleigh had said, yeah that’s a good one, we’ll try it, was hard to describe. – I don’t want tea. – That’s okay. That’s fine, darling. – No. And you’re in your job. What about Cass? – No. Cass is too little. – You’ve got a moustache. – Dad is so funny. – You know, knowing that she was walking around with one that I had made for her. For me that was a moment of walk out to the shed and have a cry, with no one looking. Because I had done something for the family, finally. So, over two years I’ve made about 20-odd eyes for her, and I realized how much of a passion I had for it.

– And I said, well is this what you want to for a job? Is this where you see yourself? And he said yes. I said okay, well let’s make it happen then. – When Dwayne first contacted me. Basic question, I want to become a ocularist, how do I do it? – It’s a bit surreal going from seeing a man on YouTube to coming and training here and connect with him. Going from sledgehammers on an oil rig, to tiny little machines and RS buttons and stuff is pretty awesome. You start with nothing. At the end of it you’ve got a person that is wearing an eye that you have made by hand. That is very good. Yeah, the movement is amazing. Wow. Knowing that I am capable now. I have to be using what I’ve learned. Being back, now it’s really all just starting to fall into place. I’ve got a state-of-the-art clinic. It’s really growing into my dream. – Oculus Prosthetics is the ocularist practice that Dwayne and I have started. You can’t really explain what it means to people until you experience, you know, sitting there with a parent, with their child and being able to have those moments where you see a parent cry because their kid looks amazing.

– It’s hard enough being a parent, let alone having the unknowns. We just feel like we can make it a little bit easier. People come first. That’s how we’re going to do it different. The people on the ground, they’re the solution. They’re the ones who can really fight off deforestation. And they’re looking for collaboration. They’re not looking for help. .

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