- A 20-year-old teen who has been struggling with tumour and blindness since tender age finally graduates from a mainstream high school
-Jody Oliver was not born blind. Her blindness came as a result of tumour that she developed as she was growing up
- She has been on and off between school and hospitals, but persistent and determined to finish school and become a teacher. Here is how she made it through
She was not born blind. Jody Oliver developed tumour, which eventually led to loss of sight. Her blindness could have easily prevented her from going on with education, much less to a mainstream school. But it didn't.
Oliver, who is currently 20 years old, was diagnosed with brain tumour in 2012. The disease was hidden and she only learnt about it after the diagnosis.
"Initially I was suffering from severe and explainable headaches. I went to see a doctor who told me it was mere migraines. But I kept bumping into things," says Oliver.
She increasingly had sporadic loss of sight, so she decided to see an eye specialist who recommended that she wear glasses.
However, glasses did not help much. Oliver's illness got worse, forcing her to go to hospital for a major health check up.
"When they examined me, they saw blood behind my eyes. It was also at this point that I was diagnosed with brain tumour," says Oliver.
She went for her first operation, which was a success. Then a second operation was done to remove the brain tumour.
The second surgery left her completely blind and stopped her from going to school for a year, against her wish.
Oliver then started going to the League of the Friends of the Blind (Lofob). This helped restore her confidence and hope of going back to school.
"I wanted to go back to Fairmount. After consultation with the school, I was allowed back," she says, adding that it was very challenging, as she was concerned how the other students will react when they see her and whether or not they will accept her.
Surprisingly, everyone supported her upon return.
"They gave me an exceptional support," she says.
Oliver resumed her education from Grade 11. But she still had another surgery to remove the remaining tumour, after which she returned and sat her Grade 11 exams.
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Her mother later died, further complicating her situation. She says she almost gave up on life, but stayed strong and continued with education.
Friends, volunteers and teachers, on seeing her determination and zeal, came in to support her, and it paid off in a big way.
"I grabbed opportunities with both hands and ran away with them," says Oliver.
Her principal at Fairmount High school, Terence Klassen, says Oliver has been a huge inspiration to pupils and teachers. It is another proof that disability is not inability.
Watch video of a blind girl who was banned from using her walking stick at school: