Able to Excel Hunter Jarman studies hard in school, loves science and devours comic books. Until recently, the 13-year-old faced a significant obstacle to enjoying these pursuits: Jarman has ocular albinism, a genetic condition that reduces the pigmentation in the eye, causing impaired visual acuity, light sensitivity and eye strain. When Hunter tried out a demo of the Merlin Elite desktop video magnifier, his parents, Pam and John, knew the device could make a big difference for their son. A teacher of Hunter’s encouraged them to contact the Lions in their community of Lynchburg, Virginia. The Lynchburg Host and Forest Lions Clubs soon sponsored Hunter to become the first recipient of the Old Dominion Eye Foundation’s Lipomi Lions Vision Fund Award. This gift has given Hunter not only the ability to read to his heart’s content but also a key to more independence. Q&A: Pam Jarman LION Magazine: Has Hunter been getting a lot of use out of the Merlin? Pam Jarman: Yes, he’s been using it to read books and do schoolwork. He magnifies his books to the size he needs, and if his eyes get tired he can actually listen to the Merlin read to him. He’s excited to be able to read comic books now. Before, he had to just guess at what was happening and try to look at the pictures. He’s using it for science too—he enlarged and investigated a stink bug up close. LM: So the device is helping him learn as well as have fun? PJ: He loves it. He’s able to do more on his own now, and that means so much to him and us. Hunter deals with a lot of issues and doesn’t let anything get in his way of succeeding. He has severe scoliosis, mitral valve insufficiency, connective tissue disorder, asthma and a bleeding disorder. He has experienced pain and frustration just about every day of his life, but he handles it so well and is always so positive. LM: Hunter sounds like an inspiring young person. PJ: He’s very thankful, wants to make everyone happy and is so brave with what he endures. He loves to joke, even with the doctors before his back surgeries. He’ll ask them if they had enough coffee! We’re proud that in 2013 Hunter was chosen as the Virginia representative for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and was Hero of the Month for the Shriners hospital. LM: The Lions were glad to help make life a little better for Hunter. PJ: We’re so grateful to the Lions for this amazing device that will help Hunter gain independence and have a great life. We’re blessed to have such a great group of caring people in our community.
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
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