'Where there is a will there IS a way' - we must have said those words a hundred times, sometimes we said them with full conviction and sometimes we said them in sheer despair but Kelsey seemed to take these words to his heart and the positive attitude he started with only grew stronger.
Kelsey started at a medium pace with learning his Braille and using his white cane, continuing with his jazz lessons, tap lessons, swimming lessons and attending the Actionnaires group once a month. There never seemed a moment when Kelsey was not doing or trying something new. We were pleased, he had hung on to all the things that were important to him and his life did not stop or change just because he had lost his vision.
Kelsey had always been a 'mummy's boy' and the thought of him ever doing things on his own seemed even more distant now. So imagine our surprise when Kelsey was offered a three-night stay in Derbyshire with Camp Quality and he agreed to go. Camp Quality arranged for Kelsey to have 1:1 support, and they gained our trust by being honest with us, they hadn't taken a blind child before and so this was new for them.
Little did we know that by the time Kelsey came back he would not only have the positive attitude but also a taste for pushing boundaries to their extreme.
He went canoeing, announcing that he was rowing but someone would need to tell him when to turn/stop!
Someone kindly donated a one-week holiday in Kent to our family. What a bonus because even if Kelsey was up and running, we certainly weren't! This holiday was amazing, the weather was hot, the location was wonderful but there was just one worry, Kelsey had won the heart of the owner, who designs flying machines! Yes, you guessed it, when he has finished building his latest design he has asked Kelsey to fly with him!
In July, we were told that Kelsey had won Wellchild Award for Bravery, 6-8 year old category. The award ceremony was held at the Intercontinental Hotel London in September, and Kelsey met Prince Harry and other famous stars.
Kelsey told everyone that 'there is nothing he couldn't do, except driving but even that he might be able to do sometime'. Escala presented him with his award, and he tapped danced outside the men's toilet with Ian Waite from Strictly Come Dancing. Kelsey was on ITN news, in the Sunday Mail supplement and the local paper and still he didn't understand what all the 'fuss' was about.
The year finished with a weekend at Teignmouth with the National Blind Children's Society (NBCS). A great relaxing weekend, and as usual he impressed the ladies in the crèche with building an elaborate marble run which worked!
In between all of the above he has attended mainstream holiday clubs with support from Out & About, he also joined the Children's Commissioning Forum in Hertfordshire. He wanted to be sure his disability was considered when the county council commissioned children services! Kelsey went to the theatre to see Hairspray and Lord of the Dance.
Kelsey entered into 2010 as an eight-year-old with a Bronze Jazz award, a Merit in his Tap Exam, a proficient Grade 2 reader, writer of Braille, touch typist, loves using his Braillenote and many experiences which will stay with him for life. We as a family went into 2010 with the knowledge that Kelsey will be anything he chooses to be and will do whatever he chooses and our worries need only be the same as they are for his sister.
We would of course not have the confident Kelsey, we have today, if it wasn't for the support of so many wonderful people, this includes Herts. VI Service, Out & About, CHECT, Camp Quality, NBCS and the fundraisers at Gypsy Booths Dance School who, with their efforts, raised the money for Kelsey to have a talking computer and a Braillenote at home.
So here's to the future and whatever it might hold.