At age 15, Nick was a happy, energetic hockey player with aspirations to play in high-level professional sports, but he soon noticed that things began to look blurry. His vision began deteriorating quickly. Suffering from blurred double vision, nearsightedness, astigmatism, light sensitivity, strain and fatigue, Nick was diagnosed with a rare eye disorder called Keratoconus - a degenerative condition that causes progressive thinning of the corneas until they reach a cone shape.
His condition forced him to quit all sports and reassess what provided him with meaning in his life. At 15-years-old, feeling scared and frustrated, Nick struggled to accept this sudden change in his identity and daily life.
Despite the downhill battle with his sight, Nick persevered. He involved himself in leadership in high school and volunteered at the CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired) as a mentor for other teenagers who had been diagnosed with visual impairments.
Today, he continues to be a key part of the low vision community working as a CNIB Vision Mate. He also plans to defend his Masters at the end of the summer and begin working in the community as a counsellor, eventually starting his own private practice with a specialty in counselling people through grief and loss.
Nick’s experience with keratoconus has made him who he is to today, a guy who is dedicating his life to helping others. However, his ability to continue has become a major challenge due to his vision issues which will soon get even worse, which is why we need everyone's help.
Nick once had a cornea transplant in one eye to help improve the vision, but it was quite invasive and came with many complications. Now, Nick is hoping to have a less invasive procedure which would not only improve his vision but stop his eye condition from progressing. Unfortunately, this procedure isn’t covered by our medical system.
The procedure is called Photorefractive Keratectomy (PKR) with Cross Linking and costs $2000 for each eye. He will have to take time off work to heal, travel and stay in Vancouver, and get new prescription glasses following these procedures.
Please pitch in what you can. Reaching this goal means so much for Nick, but even more for all of those who he will undoubtedly help in the future.