FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – When she lost her eyesight four years ago, Adeline Graf never expected to see again. That all changed a few weeks ago thanks to dozens of generous donations and some very special glasses.
One of those gifts came from the famous tattoo artist, Kat Von D. Adeline’s father, Henry Graf, has a friend who works with the celebrity. When he asked Von D to share Adeline’s story, she did one better and donated $14,000 of the $17,000 needed to get the glasses. The two haven’t talked yet, but Adeline did send her a thank you card she designed and decorated all on her own.
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The technology comes from a Canadian company called eSight. Only 300 people around the world have a pair of these special glasses. They work by shining light into the microscopic spots in Adeline’s eyes that still have some vision. Then, she uses the controls to magnify the images and even change the coloring to help her see better. Adeline also gets to talk to a mentor from the company every week to help troubleshoot any problems she has while getting used to the technology.
Adeline just got her glasses a few days ago, and she’s quickly made up for lost time.
“We went through our scrapbooks a couple of days ago, watching movies that I never got to see, so really just all of the stuff that I’ve missed out on for a little while,” Adeline said. “I feel like I’m just getting all caught up on everything. I was looking at my sister’s prom pictures and my birthday parties.”
Using the glasses is still a balancing act for Adeline, but she’s enjoying every step of this journey.
“2016, I didn’t have seeing on that list, but it’s one thing that I was able to accomplish that I’m really excited about,” Adeline said. “It’s just the beautiful world that I’m getting to see now. It’s just a whole new world, basically. It’s pretty amazing. It just shows you that God is good, and miracles happen.”
From coloring to playing video games with friends, it’s the little things that mean the most.
“It’s crazy. It’s mind blowing. I mean, every single day I just think of another 10 new things I haven’t tried yet that I’m like oh my goodness, I’ve always thought I wanted to do this. I can do this now!” Adeline said.
For Adeline, every day is like a new dream coming true.
“I’d wake up, and I’d be like wow, I really want to do this but oh wait, I can now. In my mind, I’d think I’d love to do that, but it’s not going to happen. Then, I have to remember, wait one second, you have glasses sitting in your living room that you can go put on and go do that.”
No surprise here, this girly girl already brainstorming ways to accentuate her newest accessory.
“I think I look quite divine in my opinion,” Adeline said. “We were talking that we could even possibly bedazzle the side of them. Somebody was telling me I needed sparkles so get a bedazzler and just start jeweling.”
Her frames may be black and full of cameras now, but let’s face it, she’s always worn a pair of rose-colored glasses.
“Just a different ability through disability,” Adeline said. “I feel like it made me who I am.”
Life may come with a different lens these days, but the lessons learned through the struggles very much remain.
“Don’t take things for granted. See the world for the beautiful picture that it is even if that picture can be blurry or black sometimes,” Adeline said.
Adeline hopes to eventually give public talks about her journey in TED Talks, spreading this message.
“How to see the world in a brighter way even when the pictures closed off, even when your camera lens is completely blocked off, how to still see that light through it,” Adeline said.
Adeline absolutely loves animals, and said she’s really looking forward to visiting the zoo this spring. The future vet is also already busy planning what her future practice will look like, even looking into which high schools offer courses like bio med. Adeline is still getting used to the glasses, but will eventually be able to wear them all day long. As for school, she’s looking forward to math the most and just learning like a normal kid again.
The future has always been very bright for this one, but now it’s just a little clearer.