Peta and Ben Kennedy of Castle Hill are switching on their Christmas lights again in support of the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children at North Rocks.
The Kennedys hold their Christmas lights fundraiser every year: their son Thomas has vision loss and is supported by the institute.
Thomas was diagnosed with vision loss at five months old and that is when the family began accessing the institute’s Early Learning Program (Vision Impairment).
From the start, Peta and Ben didn’t think Thomas’ vision was working as it should.
‘‘The diagnosis was a relief but we couldn’t help but worry about Thomas’ future,’’ Mrs Kennedy said.
‘‘It was easy to get ahead of ourselves, worrying about whether he’d be able to drive a car instead of what he needed then.
‘‘He was such a happy little baby and that gave me strength.
‘‘When he was asleep I would worry but when he was awake he was happy and engaged, doing amazing things despite his vision loss. That was very comforting to me.’’
As a special education teacher in early intervention, Mrs Kennedy knew how critical the early years were.
With ongoing support from the institute, Thomas is now doing well.
‘‘My father used to put on a Christmas lights display every year, and when he passed away we decided to continue the tradition in his honour,’’ she said.
‘‘When Thomas was born, friends suggested we make the lights a fundraiser for the institute.’’
Every year the Kennedys put on the lights and hold a raffle and a little donation tin on our letter box.
They raise around $1000 every year.
‘‘It’s our way of giving back to the organisation that has done so much for our family,’’ she said.
‘‘Another great part of community fundraising is getting the word out — making sure that families know there are services available to help their children and making sure they know where to access those services.
The lights will be on every night until Christmas between 8pm - 10pm at 2 Poplar Court.