When Nicholas Pham smiles, he’s just like any other two-year-old.
But the Caroline Springs toddler, who has limited vision, has had to work extra hard to get to where he has today.
Shortly after he was born Nicholas was diagnosed with familial exudative vitreoretinopathy, a hereditary condition where blood vessels on the edge of the retina don’t fully form.
Despite three operations before even turning four months old, Nicholas’ vision could not be improved.
By five months, his mother Cathy noticed her son’s low vision was impacting his development.
“I was worried because Nicholas wasn’t rolling over,” she said.
“With Ryan, his older brother, I would hold out my hand, he could see me, he’d reach out and start to move.
“Nicholas couldn’t see me. He would just stay lying down.”
Ms Pham made contact with Vision Australia and Nicholas has spent the past 18 months working with the not for profit’s specialist paediatric therapists, progressing through his developmental milestones.
She said Vision Australia has been wonderful in helping Nicholas meet his next goal, providing tips and tricks to keep him on track with other kids his age.
“We’re working hard to make sure that nothing holds him back, so he can live the life he dreams of.”
Nicholas has now been chosen as the face of Vision Australia’s 2021 Spring Appeal, which aims to raise funds to help provide life-changing services to people across Australia.
Vision Australia chief executive Ron Hooton said working with clients like Nicholas and their families is why the organisation does what it does.
“Helping our clients meet their challenges head-on and being able to support them to live the life that they choose is truly an amazing feeling,” he said.
The Vision Australia Spring Appeal runs until October 15.
Further details: visionaustralia.org