MARYVILLE (WATE) – One month ago, then-nine-year-old Andrew Borden, who was legally blind, was in need of a special kind of electronic eyewear that could finally allow him to see 20/20. The only thing standing between him and the device was a steep price of $10,000.
The entire school system and the community stepped in to help, raising the money in just two days and giving Andrew the gift of sight in a surprise he’ll surely never forget. He was born with ocular albinism and missed many of life’s moments growing up, just because he couldn’t see them very well.
“Over the past few months I’d sit up at night after everybody went to bed and search the internet because I knew there had to be something out there,” said his father Justin Borden.
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Friday was just another morning at Lanier Elementary for every student except one.
“We had a package arrive at the school that needs to be opened,” said teacher Renee Powell at the assembly. “Are there any fourth graders with a birthday? You’re the closest why don’t you come up.”
Andrew then made his way to the stage to open what he thought was a gift for the incoming fifth grade class. Instead, just in time for Andrew’s 10th birthday, was the gift of sight. His new eSight eyewear is like a visor in which he puts his glasses. On the outside are two cameras, a light in the front and a handheld remote Andrew can use to zoom in and out, or even pause – allowing him to correct his own vision.
“It was people you don’t even know, and there were a lot of anonymous donations on there. People that didn’t even want you to know they gave money,” said Andrew’s mom Jennifer Borden.
“That just reinforces what I say about our community. It’s just a wonderful community. Small, but very powerful,” said Powell
“I’ve just been waiting and waiting, and now they’re here,” said Andrew.
The Bordens say the sky is the limit from here on out. That includes going anywhere and everywhere they’ve been so Andrew can see it now.