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Photo of Kion

When teenager Kion tells you he’s blind and hard of hearing with a number of other health problems it comes a quite a surprise when he talks about the hobbies and passions that drive his life: powerful motorbikes, favourite cars, rock music and football. Kion is a big fan of Rotherham Sight & Sound too where he is a client and volunteer.

He became part of the team there almost as soon as it opened. After a stint helping on the reception desk 

he now joins in with anything and everything that is going on.

“I just say yes, let me know when it is. I came here about a month after it opened. I have lots of friends now who all struggle to see or hear. Usually everyone takes the mickey out of everyone else but the other side is that if someone is not feeling great, there is someone here to talk to.”

Kion admits that until a few years ago he was a very different person. “I was frightened to talk to people so I kept myself to myself. I wouldn’t go out with anyone except my Mum and even then, not very far.

“Now you can’t keep me in. I go out all over. I can do routes on my own, I go on the bus, down to the shop. I am on the waiting list for a Guide Dog. I have lots of confidence now and I have a laugh with everyone, I’m a right torment.

“I’m very determined not to go back to where I was then. Even if people tell me I can’t do things, now I ask why not?”

Kion credits the change in his attitude to life to his long-standing PA Simon who he has nicknamed Captain. But he also says he wouldn’t be where his is today without his other PA Emma, who has the same tastes in music, and his mobility officer who has helped him ever since he was born.

And of course there’s his Mum Kerry who also runs a charity for other families who have the rare Alstrom Syndrome which Kion has.

“I have got to the point where I don’t really care about being blind. The only thing that I really regret is that I will never have a driving licence and I love cars and bikes. I always ask people what car they have.

“I have a big Honda Goldwing bike that one of my Grandads takes me out on. And my other Grandad bought me a personalised number plate for the car when I was about three or four. I love going fast. If I won the lottery I’d buy an Audi 8 and a 1960’s  VW split screen camper van.”

Football is another of his hobbies: Captain got him into that too. Now he has a Rotherham United season ticket, travels a lot to matches and has been to  Wembley several times.

I absolutely love music as well, every T shirt I own has a rock band on it.” His all-time favourite album is Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.

Kion is talking about his life to encourage other people with visual impairment to take the step of going to Rotherham Sight & Sound and find new friends and hobbies.

“I used to be so worried about going into public places and people seeing me when I couldn’t see them. I used to hide behind Mum. If people are interested, I would be happy to talk to anyone who is thinking of joining and tell them what I was like before and what I am like now. There’s a lot wrong with my body, but my tongue’s ok,” he jokes.

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Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind links