Canadian family takes blind children on world tour


ISTANBUL

A Canadian family of six embarking on a world tour to store memories before three of their four children were blinded by retinitis pigmentosa, an incurable degenerative disease, traveled to Turkey.

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Edith Lemay and Sébastien Pelletier, who live in Quebec, Canada, decided to take a trip around the world after it was revealed that three of their four children have a condition called retinitis pigmentosa, which will cause them to lose their sight completely in the thirties.

The couple also traveled to Istanbul with their three children with the disease, the eldest, Mia, 12, Colin, 7, Laurent, 5, and their fourth child, Leo.

The Canadians visited the southern province of Antalya, Türkiye’s main holiday destination, Cappadocia, the historic region of central Anatolia famous for its fairy chimneys, and Kars in the east of the country.

“Doctors have suggested that we increase our children’s visual memory as much as possible. We wanted our kids to see the world in person, not through photographs,” Lemay and Pelletier said.

“For that, the best thing was to go around the world.”

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The family, who embarked on a year-long world tour in March, have so far visited Namibia, Zambia, Tanzania and Mongolia in addition to Turkey.

They originally planned to start their world tour with a trip between Russia and China in 2020, but that plan fell through due to the pandemic.

Sharing their travels on their social media account, they are now touring Indonesia.

Retina pigmentosa is a rare genetic disease in which cells in the retina, the light-sensitive part of the eye, begin to break down. Its symptoms normally first appear in childhood, with night vision problems.

Research on the disease indicates that some become “nearly blind” in their 30s. There is currently no cure for the disease, but experts say using counseling and education programs to improve vision could help.

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