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Posted On: 8th Mar 2017

Seeing Albinism

Chloe and Judith MacCombe want to challenge preconceptions of albinism
Donna McNicholl works as a project co-ordinator at RNIB
The twins have made a film with Fixers to show the challenges they face

‘I suppose it was in primary school we realised we were different, when we couldn’t see the board like everyone else.’


Twins Judith and Chloe MacCombe, 21, were born with a type of albinism which means they have about one third of ‘normal’ vision.


With Fixers, the girls from Claudy in Co Londonderry are raising awareness about their condition and the challenges they face.


They spoke to UTV Live about their Fixers campaign on April 6. 


The girls say they never let their eyesight hold them back from doing the things they enjoy. 


‘We do karate, rowing, surfing and we used to do rugby. We both play the clarinet and guitar and Judith plays the flute,’ says Chloe. 


However, since graduating from university, the pair are struggling to find work.



Judith says: ‘We’ve been looking for jobs but a lot of employers see that you have a disability.


'I’ve had a couple of employers come back and say because I have a visual impairment they don’t want to continue my application.


‘I would like to see that change so that employers see what you can do.


‘We’ve proved that through school and getting our degrees we’re more than capable of doing what normal sighted people can do’.


The twins met Donna McNicholl, who works at the Royal National Institute of Blind People as a project co-ordinator. 


‘Albinism is a rare, genetic condition that affects the skin, hair and eyes,' she says. 


'Living with albinism day to day, people would see the physical aspect of it such as involuntary movement of the eyes, finding it difficult to keep eye contact, to focus, recognise faces, read literature and they would experience photophobia - which is a sensitivity to light.


‘Judith and Chloe’s enthusiasm is really inspiring for young people and the wider community too, and shows that there are no boundaries or obstacles that can’t be overcome, there are only solutions.’ 


To find other resources on this topic, and watch Fixers films, click on the image below.


Author: Lindsey Armstrong


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