I was born December 4th, 1961. The last few weeks of 1st grade in 1968, I consistently had headaches and my parents took me to see an ENT in Richmond, Ky. The doctor realized I had a brain tumor within 5 minutes, and I was sent to UK hospital in Lexington, Ky.
UK found a baseball size brain tumor and at the time, had never seen anything like that in a child so small. They met with my parents, they gave me a 25% chance to live through brain surgery. They were granted permission to use my test results in the medical training at the University, and began to prepare my parents with the reality that I could die during brain surgery.
In May 1968, they successfully removed the brain tumor and tested it to prove it was a benign tumor. The only effects from the surgery was both optic nerves in my eyes were permanently damaged.
I had an in home teacher the next 2 years and went back to public school in the fall of 1970. In high school, I enjoyed journalism and writing for the school newspaper. I graduated high school in 1980, earning a most likely to succeed superlative from my peers.
Despite my disability, I was blessed in life to have parents, and a sister and brother that took care of me, yes, but also encouraged me to do everything that I could possibly do. I lived with faith and started preaching in 1982, and found my next major blessing that year, and married her in May of 1983. Leisa and I had 1 son in 1986 and another in 1987. I evangelized/youth pastored/assistant pastored for 15 years before becoming a Pastor in April, 1998.
I’ve used whatever technology available to help me in everyday life and ministry. Voice recorders, visual techs, and I received computer training with the school for the blind learning to operate a computer through a program called Jaws. And of course the latest technology allows me to use an iPhone called voice over.
I’ve lived my life with a positive attitude and a positive approach about what’s available for me to use to help me with my disability. That brings us to now. I was intrigued recently to find a company called eSight had modern technology eyewear, helping the legally blind to see better. I scheduled a free demonstration in which I found that the eyewear does indeed help me to see better. (Pictures and videos from the demonstration above!)
I’ve purchased a 15 day trial with the glasses to find out exactly how I can benefit from these in my day to day life, and will be looking to raise enough money to purchase a personal pair of my own. These will allow me for the very first time to see the faces of my family who have always been there for me. My Mother (Betty), my Sister (Kim), my Brother (Ronnie), my loving Wife (Leisa), my 2 Sons (Brad and Nathan), and now my 3 grandchildren (Bradie, Harper, and Nash). This is very special to me.
I consider my story to be a lifetime of achievements already, but it’s my intent to continue to add to these for the rest of my days.
I shared this story with my community and raised the money needed for the glasses before my trial period was even complete! The rapid support was humbling. The following explains my eSight Journey and what I hope to accomplish from here.
(From his sons)
Anyone who knows Donnie Parrett knows that he lives a very social life and despite his disability, spends his days speaking life into those around him. He volunteers weekly to pour into the lives at local faith based addiction recovery centers and celebrate recovery events. For nearly 36 years he has traveled throughout his community and surrounding communities preaching to and praying over congregations. He will be pleased to share with everyone the opportunities that your contributions will provide. He will be seeing things he has never been able to see before and enjoying experiences in ways he couldn’t for the past 50 years.
We've raised enough money to purchase the glasses and if we are blessed to get money beyond that, we want you to know exactly what that money will be going towards. These are the things Donnie is hoping to experience in a brand new way with his new vision and modern technology eyewear:
Some things that I would love to see and do in the near future with the glasses are go to Natural Bridge, Cumberland Falls, and the Smoky Mountains. I have enjoyed these places with family and friends but I’m excited to revisit these areas and see the amazing sights I’ve heard describe to me.
I want to see the gateway to the west, I’ve always been fascinated with the arch in St. Louis, and I’m a huge Cincinnati Reds fan, maybe I could catch a ballgame while there or at least get to Great American Ball Park and cheer on the Redlegs and get to see them in action! And a University Of Kentucky basketball and football game, the only time I’ve been to ballgames I’ve had to wear my headphones so I could follow the action with the radio. I’m ready to see the Cats play at Rupp Arena and Kroger Field! Last but not least, I would also love to fly in an airplane. If it would just be going somewhere spending the night and coming back, I’ve always wanted to fly. My wife got to fly twice, both times to a mission trip in Belize. It’s my turn to get in on the fun!
Here are some of the ways the glasses are helping him. Also, find him on Facebook (link at top)! We would love for you to follow along with us on this journey and see how he is being blessed from your contributions!
I am loving being able to take pictures with my glasses.
I love to sit on my front porch and watch traffic go by.
I love being able to look around and see how beautiful God's creation really is.
I can enjoy watching TV now.
I love going to different places and actually being able to see things that people could only tell me about in the past.
I love actually being able to see people clearly.
I love being able to read things from a distance. I can read 16 font and 20/50 from across the room! I couldn’t read the largest font on a computer before!
I am enjoying learning how to read and write with my glasses on.
I love all the new challenges that face me every day to see if I can figure
out what I am seeing.
I love waking up every morning and wondering what I am going to see during
this new day.
Also, I can't wait to go to Wal Mart, and instead of me always asking Leisa
what she's looking at...having her ask me what I'm looking at!!!
There is so much more that I could write about this, but most of all, I LOVE
being able to really see my family for the very first time!!!
If you know Donnie personally and wish to donate, feel free to take it to him. Many more pictures and videos of this journey can be found on his Facebook! Link is up top, or look for Donnie Parrett in Annville, KY.
We love you all! We are very thankful for the way you have blessed us and we wish many blessings to all of you!
- Shondale Hopper
- Sharon Allen
- Angila Stephenson
- Hank Askins
- Donnies Family And Community!
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more