Now she campaigns for disability rights.
Here's how Caroline Casey tells it, as published in The Sun newspaper in the UK:
I found out I was legally blind on my 17th birthday. The day had started with me happily opening presents on my parents’ bed. Like many 17-year-olds, I was over the moon to open a voucher for my first driving lesson – ever since I was a girl, I’d dreamed of being a motorbike racer.
Later that day, my mum and I took my little sister Hilary to her hospital appointment. Hilary has ocular albinism, a condition of the iris that means she is legally blind. I’d also struggled with my eyesight my whole life, but I put it down to being extremely short-sighted.
Things were only visible when they were a few inches in front of my face – the rest of the world was seen through a smear of Vaseline. I zoned out during Hilary’s eye examination, my head full of motorbikes.
Whenever Hilary had an eye test, I had one too, to be a supportive older sister – or so I thought.
‘It’s your birthday today? Any nice presents?’ the doctor asked with a smile, as he noticed the date in my file.
‘Yes – my first driving lesson!’ I said, unable to hide my excitement.
The doctor gave me a strange look. ‘You haven’t told her yet?’ he asked my mum. She began to cry.
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