Imagine being thirteen and losing your vision.  For so many of us, that's just hard to imagine.  But for Kaida Bandy, of Newburgh, Indiana, that is her reality.  According to Kaida's aunt Teresa, Kaida started losing her vision five to six years ago, but no one really knew it at the time. But, in retrospect, the signs were most certainly there.

Kaida would sit really close the television.  She would hold her cell phone really close to her face.  At school, there were certainly additional red flags that something was going on.  Kaida was in band, but was having to go to YouTube and memorize music, because she couldn't read it.  In fact, she had an "A" in band (because she taught herself that work around), but was struggling in all of her other classes, where she really did have to be able to see and read to succeed.

Finally, Kaida's mom Tricia was able to get a proper diagnosis.  It was discovered that Kaida has Stargardt disease. That's a retinal disease that results in progressive loss of vision.  It's essentially a juvenile version of macular degeneration that begins in childhood or early adolescence.

Aunt Teresa admits it has been a struggle but says,"She's handled it better than most."  And this is proof.  Kaida is making bracelets, by hand, and selling them.

Donations Kaida earns from her bracelet sales will go toward school supplies.  As you can imagine, her battle with blindness has been difficult to deal with.  While kids her age are looking forward to the day they get to drive, Kaida won't ever get that opportunity.  Honestly, she's not spending her time looking to the future at all.  She's looking at the present and studying it intently.  It's as if Kaida's looking at things closer and longer, so she won't forget what they look like when she can't see them anymore.  I mean, can you imagine?

Understandably, her battle with Stargardt disease has taken its toll.  According to relatives, Kaida has become a bit of a recluse and has battled depression- a depression that, thankfully, is improving with a couple of impactful projects.  Kaida has started to learn Braille and she has started making bracelets.  In Aunt Teresa's words, "It has really lifted her spirits."

Teresa Cook/FB
Teresa Cook/FB

If you'd like to help lift Kaida's spirits, she would absolutely love to make a bracelet for you.  Her mom's Venmo account is included in the FB post above and that's the best way to place an order.  She will gladly ship to your address.

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