|Peter and I.|
I met Peter Holton on the MNDA forum last summer. He was newly diagnosed with motor neurone disease and still very able. We got on well, perhaps because we are both single parents with teenagers. We used to correspond weekly by email and it was great to chat to Peter.
Around April of this year Peter's emails became shorter and infrequent. Peter was losing the use of his hands. His speech therapist gave him a prodder to type with, which was very difficult for Peter to use. She told him that there was no funding available for an eyegaze computer.
Tobii PC Eye and Peter liked my daffodil print so I sent him a print as a gift. I never imagined that I would be able to give Peter a much more important gift later.
Following my radio 4 interview recently and Tobii halving the price of the PC Eye, I had enough money to purchase one PC Eye. I know that many people with MND desperately need eyegaze technology and invited people to apply. Choosing who to give the PC Eye to was probably the most difficult decision I've ever had to make, because everyone with MND should have eyegaze. I chose Peter and finally met him yesterday, with Hector from Tobii and Shaun McCormack from RSL Steeper, who will provide technical support to Peter.
I want to thank Hector for helping me ever since I met him in 2005. I couldn't have set up Eyegazeartists without him. My carer, Karen Yin, for helping me run Eyegazeartists - it's hard work! I have to thank everyone who has purchased my artwork and given another person with MND the gift of communication and a better life.
*The exciting news is that Tobii are going to MATCH my donation and donate another PC Eye to someone. They would like to find another artist, so if you know someone who would use eyegaze technology to paint please apply using the contact form on the Eyegazeartists website. This is not only applicable to people with MND or those living in the UK, but with any condition in any part of the world. Spread the word!*