Out of four children, three of them are diagnosed to lose their vision. To make up for all that they may not be able to experience, the parents are taking a year-long trip around the world.
Family from Quebec, Canada, was heartbroken after learning that that three out of four of their children were going to lose their sense of sight soon, CNN reported. The children — 11-year-old Mia, 7-year-old Colin, and 5-year-old Laurent — have been diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a rare eye disease that leads to vision loss and blindness. However, they decided to rise to this challenge and make the best of it by traveling to all the beautiful places in the world to see them for themselves. The couple Edith Lemay and her husband, Sebastien Pelletier try to do their best to make their four children see everything beautiful around the world before their vision deteriorates.
Edith got this idea from Mia’s specialist when she advised the mother to ingrain some visual memories in her. “I thought, 'I'm not going to show her an elephant in a book, I'm going to take her to see a real elephant,” she explains. “And I'm going to fill her visual memory with the best, most beautiful images I can.” They made a plan to travel an entire year with an itinerary and everything, but the pandemic made that a little difficult to happen.
When they finally left Montreal in 2022, they had very little planning done. “We actually left without an itinerary,” says Lemay. “We had ideas of where we wanted to go, but we plan as we go. Maybe a month ahead.” Before they left, though, the family got together and made a bucket list of things they wanted to do like Mia wanted to do horseback riding while Laurent wanted to drink juice on a camel. They first flew to Namibia where they saw elephants and other animals before going to Tanzania and Zambia. Their journey then took them toward Turkey where they lived for a month before going to Mongolia and Indonesia.
“We're focusing on sights,” explains Pelletier. “We're also focusing a lot on fauna and flora. We've seen incredible animals in Africa, but also in Turkey and elsewhere. So we're really trying to make them see things that they wouldn't have seen at home and have the most incredible experiences.” Traveling has taught these kids some important life skills. “Traveling is something you can learn from,” Lemay said. “ It's nice and fun, but it also can be really hard. You can be uncomfortable. You can be tired. There's frustration. So there's a lot that you can learn from travel itself.” However, even with all these trips, they realize that their children need to have a support system and be resilient through this time.
The eldest daughter Mia had known about her condition since she was seven but the younger kids have just started getting used to it and have started asking some difficult questions. “My little one asked me, 'Mommy, what does it mean to be blind? Am I going to drive a car?'” says Lemay. “He's five. But slowly, he's understanding what's happening. It was a normal conversation for him. But for me, it was heart-wrenching.” The younger ones were made aware of their conditions after their symptoms started resembling Mia’s.
The parents are really happy with the way the kids are addressing this situation, that they can adapt to the countries and their culture while also being curious about their surroundings. While their trip has been about visual experiences, it was more important for the parents to make their children feel like they had unforgettable memories. “There are beautiful places everywhere in the world, so it doesn't really matter where we go,” she explains. “And we never know what's going to impress them. We will tell ourselves [they will think] something is wonderful and then they see puppies in the street and it's the best thing in their life.” The couple notes that beauty is everywhere, they just need their kids to experience it.
Cover Image Source: Facebook/Le monde plein leurs yeux