Meet Paul De Marsh

Paul De Marsh “Every bit helps”

Vision loss has been a lifelong reality for Toronto resident Paul De Marsh. Born with congenital cataracts, his parents put him up for adoption during his first year of life, he believes, because of his vision loss.

“My biological parents were immigrants and, faced with the challenge of raising a child who could not see, they were no doubt overwhelmed,” he says.

After being adopted, Paul had his first eye operation when he was just two years old. Since then, he’s faced a lifetime of battles with his eyes – as a detached retina and more cataracts slowly chipped away at his remaining sight.

Now, at 55 years old, he also has glaucoma.

Paul knows how vision loss can affect a person throughout the various stages of life. And he’s very grateful for the role CNIB has played in helping him live independently, despite vision loss. That’s why he’s decided to leave a gift in his will for CNIB – so other people can receive the kind of invaluable support that he has.

“Although I may not have a lot to pass along, I would like to make sure that I am doing what I can to help other CNIB clients,” he says. “I know that every bit helps, and that you do not have to be rich to make a difference in other people’s lives.”

Though he lives on his own and has no family ties, CNIB has given Paul a source of support that he can count on when he needs help – from counselling services and peer support groups, to assistive technologies that help him do daily tasks independently.

“Asking for help from CNIB was one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time,” he says. “Bit by bit, I’m rebuilding my independence and self-confidence.”

Paul says he’s glad to know that he can “pay it forward” with the gift he made for CNIB in his will, and help other people overcome some of the same struggles that he went through himself.

“People have been kind and generous to me and that makes me feel great. I want other people to enjoy that same feeling.”