Edith Lemay and Sebastien Pelletier's daughter, Mia, was just three years old when they first noticed she was having vision problems. After several years and specialist consultations, Mia was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a rare genetic disorder that causes a gradual loss of vision. By 2019, their sons Colin and Laurent were also diagnosed with the same condition. Knowing that their children will be completely blind by mid-life, the couple decided to take their children on a year-long trip around the globe to build visual memories.
The family started to save up for the trip and were able to increase their funds when the company that Pelletier worked for was bought. They originally planned to leave in July 2020 but had to delay their plans due to the global pandemic. They eventually left Montreal in March 2022 with few plans in place, leaving without an itinerary, but with a bucket list of experiences for their children.
Their first destination was Namibia, where they saw elephants, zebras, and giraffes up close. They then moved on to Zambia, Tanzania, Turkey, Mongolia, and Indonesia. The couple's focus was on giving their children experiences they wouldn't normally see if they were sitting at home. They wanted their children to develop coping skills and resilience, constantly adapting as their vision deteriorates.
While traveling, the couple hoped to teach their children how fortunate they are despite the challenges that may come later in their lives. The parents also hoped that their children would appreciate the small things in life, such as having water in their home and being able to attend school every day. All four children adapted easily to life on the road and the parents were impressed with how curious and adaptable they were.
Although the diagnosis of their children is always in the back of their minds, Lemay and Pelletier focused on living in the moment and making the most of their time together as a family. They do not know when their children will go blind, but they are determined to take care of each of them and allow them to live the experience to the fullest. The ability to live in the moment is one of the key things the parents hope their children learn from this trip.
The couple's journey teaches us about making the most of every moment we have and appreciating what we have, even during challenging times. The story is a reminder that life is fleeting and that it's important to live in the moment and create meaningful experiences with the people we love.
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