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Little Tora Clapham inspires those around her
10:00am Wednesday 8th August 2012 in News
An inspirational little girl will lead a sponsored walk next month to raise money for two charities close to her family’s heart.
Four-year-old Tora Clapham was born with a rare medical condition called aniridia which affects her eyes. It means she is blind in her left eye and only has peripheral vision in her right.
Despite the condition and trips to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London for treatment, Tora is a happy little girl, who uses a cane to navigate her environment and is learning Braille at her school, Howard Park Community School in Cleckheaton .
Tora was diagnosed three days after her birth at Bradford Royal Infirmary . At first her parents, Susan Blissett and Gordon Clapham, 42, of Howard Park, Cleckheaton, struggled to find any information about the congenital condition. Then Mrs Blissett, 34, also mum to eight-year-old Riley Blissett and one-year-old Zachariah Clapham, found an organisation called Aniridia Network UK, a support group and charity concerned with the rare genetic condition.
Mrs Blissett said: “When Tora was diagnosed we were beside ourselves. We didn’t know what it was. We had never heard of it and could find hardly any information on the internet.
“Then I ended up speaking to Aniridia Network UK and they explained what it was, what to do and what to look out for – they were really helpful.”
Since then the family have become involved with the charity and Mrs Blissett was even a guest speaker at its annual conference in Manchester this year. Now, the ambition is to produce a leaflet to put into every hospital to help families in the same position.
The family will also raise money to support Bradford Toy Library at St Luke’s Hospital, which has helped the family by loaning them fibre-optic lights to stimulate Tora’s eyesight.
The small local charity has also provided invaluable support to the family through coffee mornings and trips.
Mrs Blissett said: “Parents can talk to other people who understand the situation they are in. They have been a massive support.”
The sponsored walk takes place on Saturday, September 15, along the Spen Valley Greenway from Heckmondwike to Cleckheaton and it is hoped many people will join the family. To support them, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. To support the charity visit thebradford toylibrary.org or aniridia.org.uk