Basketball match high on wish list of brave boy

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

Louis Corbett will eventually lose his sight to disease so his family are packing his days with lots of memories

Louis Corbett did the Pukekohe Color Run last month and would really like to see the Boston Celtics play. Photo / AP
Louis Corbett did the Pukekohe Color Run last month and would really like to see the Boston Celtics play. Photo / AP

When Louis Corbett's parents were told their young son was losing his sight they asked him what he'd like to do before his vision was completely gone.

The 12-year-old's biggest wish was to watch the Boston Celtics basketball team play live in America - something the family are now working hard to make happen before it's too late.

The young basketball fan, and two of his four siblings, suffer from a genetic eye disease called retinitus pigmentosa.

It causes severe vision impairment, so all three children will eventually lose their sight. The family have rallied in support of Louis after tests last year showed swelling of the retina in both eyes.

Since his diagnosis last March, Louis' family and friends have been helping to build what they've dubbed a "visual database" for him - introducing him to as many environments, colours and graphics as possible before he goes blind.

His parents, Catherine and Tim Corbett, have made a website about their son's life and a Givealittle page has also been set up to help the family get to the US to watch the Boston Celtics team play live.

Louis loves basketball and the Celtics are his favourite team.

Mrs Corbett wrote on the website that although it had been difficult to accept their son was quickly losing his ability to see, they had pushed hard to make sure these few months counted.

"We realised that Louis' vision was deteriorating in a way, and at a pace, that neither of us was prepared for.

"We sat Louis down and asked him: 'What do you think would be really cool to see and do?'

"He said: 'I would love to see all the best beaches, waterfalls and sunsets ... and I want to play more sport, please'."

Mrs Corbett said they had spent the past few months acting on vital advice they had been given - to travel widely and focus on height, colours and texture, so Louis could understand and learn how to describe the richness of a colour, for example.

They were also encouraged to push their children's education.

"To have a qualification means you are an accountant who is blind, or a physio who is blind, rather than being known as the man who is blind," Mrs Corbett wrote.

"We are determined our boys won't be defined by this, so their education is at the forefront of our attention."

- NZ Herald

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