“I feel like I have my independence back”

Maria was 18 when she joined the Women’s Royal Army as a Private. She moved up the ranks to become a Corporal, before leaving the corps for the Territorial Army in 1993 and becoming a nurse at her local hospital.

During her work as a nurse that Maria was diagnosed with the hereditary sight loss condition Leber’s optic neuropathy. Within a year of diagnosis, she was registered blind, an experience that Maria found utterly devastating.

Fortunately, one of Maria’s friends signposted her to the free, lifelong support of Blind Veterans UK.

Since joining the charity Maria has undertaken IT training. She has also run a marathon and thrown herself into activities from wing-walking to white water rafting.

Maria driving a truck whilst in the Armed Forces

“I really do feel like I have my independence back. I’m so grateful to Blind Veterans UK. Their support has been life-changing, and my happiness and independence is down to them and the help they’ve given me over the past 13 years. I always say they saved my life!”

Maria is now on a mission to reach other vision-impaired ex-Service men and women and help others in her role as an Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (ECLO) based at the St Helen’s Hospital.


See our  Veterans’ Gateway referral partners and contact Veterans’ Gateway 24/7 helpline team for all your welfare needs.