A picture of Shane and his befriender sat in a garden.

Vista’s befriending service matches a volunteer with a local person with sight loss, which can make a real difference and lead to a lifelong friendship.

Shane was born with Optic Atrophy, which is part of a rare condition known as Wolfram Syndrome, affecting the optic nerves in his eyes. He was born blind in his left eye, and his sight deteriorated in his right eye from the age of six. All he can see now are distorted shapes and shadows.

Shane attended a mainstream school, which he found isolating as he wasn’t given the right support. He enrolled into a college which provided specialist support for people with visual impairments, which made a huge difference. However, when he was accepted into a mainstream university, the lack of support meant that he dropped out after a short time.

In 2007, Shane began to work with one of Vista's support workers, who helped him with guiding and communication to stay as independent as possible. He said “This support opened my world up, and I began to get more involved with the charity.”

Shane contacted Vista’s befriending service, where he met Gill. He said “Gill was my befriender, and she’s still one of my very good friends. We meet up weekly – she invites me round to dinner, or we’ll go bowling!”

Their friendship has made an incredible difference, and Shane has met many new friends through Gill. He said “It’s given me a brighter outlook, and now I’m always looking forward to the next activity.”

Shane added “I couldn’t be without the friendships I’ve gained from Vista’s befriending service, that’s how much it has changed my life."

To find out more, visit our befriending service page.