Life stories

As these stories show, people who are deafblind, or have related disabilities, live hugely varied lives.

Families, carers and professionals also have many stories to tell. Each of these stories is in the individual's own words, and in some cases English may not be their first language.

Families | Young people | Adults | Older people


ChloeChloe's story
Jane Ring's daughter, Chloe, was diagnosed profoundly deaf at one month old, then registered blind three months later. She now has bilateral cochlear implants, reads through her fingers and writes using a Braille machine. Remarkably, Chloe attends a mainstream school. Jane calls her "funny, clever and the cuddliest person I know". Read Chloe's story






Grace's story
Grace, is severely short-sighted and profoundly deaf.  She also has cerebral palsy and is a wheelchair user. Grace attends school full time - Sense supports the staff to understand deafblindness and to respond to Grace’s learning needs, and her intervenors interpret things for her, signing and explaining what's going on. Her father Edd tells her story. Read Grace's story





Young people

Molly WattMolly Watt's story
Sense Ambassador and campaigner for Usher syndrome awareness, Molly Watt, says: "I want those struggling with acceptance and dreading the future as deafblind individuals to realise life will change but it is doable, frustrating often but with help and determination it will be okay". Read Molly's story




Pippa Yeates's story
Pippa has a lot to say about the things that mean a lot her, the issues she finds difficult and how she likes to spend her time. She has a CHARGE which is a condition that can cause sight and hearing impairments as well as other physical difficulties – but that doesn’t stop her having big dreams for the future.  See a video of Pippa.





Leila TouakLeila Touak
Leila has been a volunteer with Sense since 2009, helping out on our family days and at TouchBase South East in Barnet, London. She received support from Sense to do the things she likes - going out with her family, shopping, and visiting her friends, museums and the mosque. Leila also recently became a Sense Ambassador, helping to build public awareness of deafblindness. Read Leila's story and watch a video of her





Janice TilletJanice Tillett's story
In 1992 Janice swam for the United Kingdom at Barcelona Paralympic Games, winning two silver medals. She campaigns for the rights of deafblind people and plays an important role in supporting the public policy work of Sense. She tells how the example of Martin Luther King inspired her to fight the rights of people with disabilities and sensory impairments, and how she has faced many challenges, as well as positive opportunities, as a deafblind person. Read Janice's story




Marcus Inniss

Marcus Innis's story
Marcus is a creative and entrepreneur who was diagnosed with Usher syndrome in 2003. This caused the loss of his peripheral vision and 60 per cent of his hearing. Here, he tells about his journey from feeling isolated and believing there was no help out there for him, to feeling positive about the future and working on starting up an e-commerce business. Read Marcus's story and watch a video of him





Joe Coffin smilingJoe Coffin's story
Joe was born partially deaf, and in his 30s, had a heart infection which damaged the optic nerve in his left eye and left him severely visually impaired. His vision has rapidly deteriorated over the last few years, but it has not stopped him from enjoying life and living as independently as possible. Read Joe's story




Older people

Arthur EllisArthur Ellis's story
Despite losing his sight and much of his hearing due to meningitis seven years ago, Arthur Ellis has continued to produce intriguing artworks - and recently opened his studio to the public as part a prestigious arts event. He was awarded Deafblind Person of the Year in the 2013 Sense Awards – in recognition of his courage, creativity and ground-breaking artwork. Read Arthur's story





Pat CreePat Cree's story
Pat Cree, 70, from Leicester has always enjoyed creating art. When she started not being able to see and hear very well – about five years ago – she found her confidence draining away and became very low. Pat, who has a hearing problem, also has macular degeneration which causes a gradual loss of central vision. Read Pat's story




Share your story

If you have a life story to share with us we would love to hear from you! Visit our Share your story page for more details.

First published: Wednesday 30 April 2014
Updated: Wednesday 27 July 2016