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Bunmi Sobowale

Photograph of Bunmi Sobowale

We are always encountering inspirational people at SRSB and we recently met a lady called Bunmi Sobowale who has an amazing story. We approached Bunmi after reading an article about her in the Sheffield Star. She recently visited our centre as she was interested to learn more about our charity, and we found out more about her story over a drink in our café. 

Bunmi, who is from Sheffield, had lost her sight on two occasions as a result of severe food intolerance. This sight loss lasted for approximately 6 months the first time.

But she also experiences many other symptoms such as pain, paralysis, blackouts, speech problems, sickness, nausea, burning skin, panic attacks and tiredness after eating certain types of food. 

Doctors think that this is the result of a very rare condition called neuromyelitis optica which is a problem in the central nervous system that affects the optic nerves and spinal cord, but they are baffled by the link between her nervous system and her food intolerance.

There are many foods that aggravate Bunmi’s condition and she has learnt to adapt by avoiding the foods that cause these reactions. 

The only thing that has enabled Bunmi to manage her illness is by taking control of her diet. This has also led her to turn her experience into a practical way to support others and she has set up a website called Foods You Can that helps people with food intolerance. The site has been really successful and Bunmi explains “Despite losing my eye sight then regaining it, losing the capability in parts of my body and then getting it back, then to top it off, having to learn how to eat differently to the first 25 years of my life I stayed optimistic and through what was initially simply curiosity and wanting to gain more knowledge, I came up with the idea of Foods You Can.”

We are hoping to work with Bunmi more in the future and she is very keen to support SRSB and the work that we do having experienced sight loss herself.  She is a real inspiration showing what can be achieved when one stays positive and learns to adapt.

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Our Community Engagement Team visit organisations and events across Sheffield and South Yorkshire to promote awareness about our services and about eye health

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Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind links