Brave Chloe battles on despite blindness

Chloe Laslett and her mother Derrolyn
Chloe Laslett and her mother Derrolyn

AN INSIRATIONAL young woman who lost her sight is determined to live life to the full despite her blindness.

Back in March, Chloe Laslett felt some irritation in her eye but by the summer her vision had rapidly deteriorated and two days before her 19th birthday doctors told her she would not regain her sight.

Chloe, who live in Hampden Park with mum Derrolyn and dad David, had 20-20 vision but now has no central vision and only limited peripheral sight in her right eye.

Her condition may lead to total sight loss.

Despite having to come to terms with the devastating news, Chloe has gone back to her catering course at Sussex Downs College and achieved top grades in a practical test which involved making a perfect souffle and gateaux.

She spoke to the Herald this week about her remarkable journey and a life without sight.

Chloe said, “It was on a Thursday, when I was a college, and I felt like I had something in my eye.

“I went home and did some eye wash, like you would, and I was rubbing it but didn’t think that much of it.

“On the Saturday night it was still irritating so I asked mum to see if there was something there.”

After visit to the doctors, she was transferred to the eye unit at Eastbourne DGH where specialists suggested it was psychosomatic.

“I was frustrated,” said Chloe.

“Why would I make it up - I wanted to drive, finish my course and continue doing my part-time job at Sainsbury’s.”

On June 22, Chloe received a call saying there was a hospital bed available in London.

David and Derrolyn drove her to the hospital and after many tests Chloe was diagnosed with a genetic condition called Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy.

It is a condition which has affected her great-grandmother and two great-uncles.

Chloe, her mum and sister Charlotte suffered a huge shock when doctors said she would not regain her sight.

Derrolyn said, “Charlotte was inconsolable - she was hysterical - but I had silent tears and Chloe was just silent and in shock.

“It was like Chloe had been stunned with a stun gun and there were no tears.”

Chloe added, “I knew it was coming. I knew they were going to tell me that I wasn’t going to get my sight back.”

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Fund set up to support Chloe’s fight

SUPPORT is mounting for Chloe’s Fight for Sight as her family have set up a fund.

There is no treatment in the UK for Chloe’s condition. Specialists believe it may be 15 years before it is available in Britain, but her family is looking in to the possibility of treatments abroad and has set up a fund called Chloe’s Fight for Sight.

Her mum Derrolyn thanked friends and family for their support, and added, “David [Chloe’s dad] and I feel it our duty to do everything we can for our daughter.

“If there isn’t a treatment, the money will be used for equipment and to fund research.”

Chloe added, “Even if they can give me a little bit of sight back so that I can read again - that would be nice.”

A committee, with two treasurers from outside the family, has been set up and fundraising is underway.

There is a Facebook page called Chloe’s Fight for Sight, a Twitter page and the website can be found at www.chloesfightforsight.co.uk

Charity wristbands are being sold at Paperlane in Hampden Park and at Central Eating cafe near the seafront in Terminus Road. Collection boxes will also be appearing around the town soon.

Sussex Down College recently raised £1,800 with a curry night and Chloe’s old schools Ratton and Parkland are hoping to organise fundraisiers. Sainsbury’s has also been organising fundraisers for the fund. Chloe and Derrolyn’s Guiding friends for all their support.

To support the fund send a cheque to Richard and Angie Nunney, 14 Gloucester Close, Willingdon, BN22 OJT.