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Student Blog: MACS Charity Day

02 December 2019

Vivi (FY, Mexico) shares her experience of MACS Charity Day, including an interview with Charlotte (G11, UK), who organised and led the day’s activities. (Photographs of the MACS football match are also by Vivi.)

Last Thursday at Surval, we had a charity event featuring MACS (Microphthalmia, Anophthalmia and Coloboma Support). MACS is the UK’s national charity organization that supports children born without eyes or with underdeveloped eyes. They help 1800 families around the UK by providing them with not only financial and emotional support, but also with opportunities to encourage and allow them to live their lives to the best. They create many physical activities such as parachuting and kayaking where they can challenge themselves, have fun, and meet other children who share the same condition. 

This event was proposed and organized by our head of the Charity Committee, Charlotte Karwacki. Charlotte’s brother has Bilateral Coloboma, which enables him to only see a little from one eye; he is completely blind in the other. Therefore, Charlotte’s brother and family were supported by MACS, who helped her brother gain a different perspective of life and seek more opportunities. This is why Charlotte decided to speak to CEO of MACS, Liz Bates, and arrange not only an online assembly, in which all the students of Surval would be able to know more about MACS, but a whole day celebrating and raising awareness of this important charity. 

We began the day by having a student-led assembly where the girls explained to us about the three MACS conditions and outlined the set of activities we would be doing during the day. The assembly began by Charlotte asking us to close our eyes and picture the most beautiful thing we have ever seen. This was thought-provoking and a particularly powerful way of beginning the day, as it got us to reflect on what sight brings to our lives and what life would be without it.

In the afternoon, we drove up to Glion Sports Hall, where we held a series of soccer matches between the girls. MACS provided us with blue, colorful T-shirts that we all wore during the matches and got to keep afterwards. The games consisted in having six groups of five players and the matches were ten minutes long; the first five minutes we would play normally and the other five…blindfolded! It was hard but so fun how we were all chasing the sound the special ball made. Everyone was falling and bumping into each other, especially Mr. Smale. We ended the day with a calm cinema night, which we donated CHF5 to join, and ate lots of ice cream bars and sweet and salty popcorn.

We only got to experience five minutes of the everyday lives of the children and teenagers of MACS, and it is not easy at all. During the first couple of minutes, I felt happy and excited at the fun of the experience, but by the end, I began getting frustrated and impatient and just wanted to take the blindfold off. This is how these children and teenagers live every single day and, to be honest, I respect them so much because I would struggle so much if I didn’t have my eyesight. Thus, this game really made me and many girls feel very grateful for what we have. 

Hearing Charlotte talking to me about her brother Connor, I could see how proud Charlotte feels of him, especially when telling me about how hard Connor works, and how he has accomplished many amazing things throughout his life despite his condition. As Charlotte states, “Connor still thinks that he can do everything and does not lose hope”. I learned that Connor and everyone in MACS has perseverance and optimism, which makes me admire them and look up to them as role models and inspiration. 

I believe MACS is a valuable charity and it is important to raise awareness of these conditions because this charity is changing lives and helping so many families. The MACS day inspired all of us at Surval to donate money and support this charity as much as we can. If you have been inspired by this article to support MACS, then you can do so by going to the MACS website, where you will have the option to donate money, volunteer for MACS, and raise awareness of these conditions and what we can do to help.

Finally, I would like to thank Charlotte for her support towards this article and for everything she has done to make this day a great day.