Caitlin's Eyegaze System

My name is Caitlin – I am a 16 year old girl who suffers from a progressive neurological disease called CIDP (Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy). At the age of 8 I was still able to walk and do most things myself. Over the past 8 years, despite a huge amount of medical treatment to try and prevent the progression, I now have no movement from the neck downwards and am completely reliant on the help of my parents and carers. For the past 3 years the majority of my time has been spent in bed due to pressure sores and anxieties over my breathing. Despite this I am still a normal teenager who loves to search the internet and chat with friends on Facebook etc. My passions are singing and drama and in particular musical theatre. I have just done my GCSEs and do singing and drama lessons and exams all whilst in bed.

What is the problem you are trying to solve?

I have an IPad, however as I have no movement from the neck downwards if I want to use it I have to do so with the help of my mum or carers. This means that I have no privacy at all and am completely dependent on others to be able to use the IPad at all. Would you want your Mum or other adults helping you write posts or talk to friends on social media? Well that's what I want to change. The Eye Gaze system would allow me to use a tablet independently and would enable me to turn the television on and off, change channels, record programmes etc by myself. It may also allow me to text friends and call them as if it was a mobile. At the moment I have to rely on my parents/carers to also do all these things for me.

Why do you care about this?

I have been on bed rest for the majority of the time over the past 3 years and therefore using the IPad and watching television has become a huge part of my life. Due to my disabilitites I have to rely on others to help me with everything which can be very frustrating but also means I have very little privacy. I would gain such independence and joy from being able to access social media, send emails etc on my own. I could use it to study and do research whilst working towards my A levels.

How will the money be spent?

The money will be used to purchase an Eye Gaze System from a local company called Smartbox which is based in Malvern. The money raised will hopefully pay for the Grid Pad communication aid including tablet, the related software required, environmental controls, the Tobii Eye Gaze Camera and any other equipment required such as the stand. It will also help with the after sales service required and any additional equipment/adaptations I may require.

My aim is to raise more than enough money to be able to  acquire the Eyegaze system and everything that is needed with it. If I am able to raise more than the required amount I would use this additional money to put towards purchasing an Eyegaze system for another person in a similar situaton to me.

When will supporters see the difference?

I have trialled the Eye Gaze system for a couple of weeks and just loved what I could do on my own and really did not want to give it back! If I was able to raise enough money to buy it I would use it regularly for at least 2 hours a day. Not only would it give me the independence I crave it would also give my mum (my current full time carer) more time off so she could have a rest or get on with some other jobs. The difference to me and my family would be immediate, significant and lifechanging.

Your donation

It would be wonderful if you feel you could make a donation no matter how small - every little donation will help. If you could share this on any social media that would be gratefully appreciated. If I managed to raise the funds to purchase the Eyegaze System it would mean the world to me.
  • Stephen Shorrock 
    • £20 
    • 32 mos
  • Sandra Price 
    • £20 
    • 32 mos
  • Cliffe Crowther 
    • £50 
    • 56 mos
  • Emily James 
    • £10 
    • 57 mos
  • Ann Morphew 
    • £25 
    • 57 mos
See all

Organizer

Louise Ronan 
Organizer
Wellington Heath, West Midlands, United Kingdom