Racing towards donations – Harry’s obstacle course

VisAbility occupational therapist Jeru Lopez stands next to Harry Nicholls in the open play area outside Scotch College.
Harry has received support from our therapists including Occupational Therapist (OT) Jeru Lopez

If you’ve got a condition which affects your sight, what better way than explain it to your friends than through a blind obstacle race?

That’s exactly what 11-year-old Harry Nicholls did to raise awareness of his condition. He wanted his friends to walk – or run – in his shoes and experience what it’s like to have a vision impairment.

Harry’s blind obstacle course

Harry is a year 5 pupil at Scotch College (link opens in new window) in Nedlands and has an auto immune disease which means he has limited sight. His vision loss started a year ago.

“My left eye is worse than my right eye. I use a bigger iPad and a larger keyboard than anyone else. My close friends know about my condition, but I knew an obstacle challenge would be a way to raise more awareness. I wanted it to be a fundraiser with donations going to VisAbility.”

I really wanted to give something back to VisAbility. They have helped me so much. I was struggling before they stepped in to support me.

Harry Nicholls
11-year-old with vision impairment

“I spoke to the school about doing a fundraiser and they were really supportive. My grandmother helped me to make the blindfolds. She lives next door to me and I spend a lot of time with her,” explains Harry.

All 220 children from Scotch College Junior School (link opens in new window) took part. The event took place on the last day of the winter term.

“I decided to create an obstacle course where the children had to walk around trees and cones. The younger children each had a guide. The older ones didn’t, they just gave out verbal directions. There was a minor mishap when one of the boys walked into a tree but he wasn’t hurt,” he says.

“It was a great day; it was a little windy but that added to the challenge. Harry did a great job,” explains his teacher Renea Cirillio.

VisAbility donation

Everyone who took part was asked for a $2 donation, but many offered more.

“When we counted up all the money, I was like ‘wow’ – there was $640 – that’s an awful lot, everyone was so generous,” explains Harry.

Harry receives occupational therapy and assistive technology services from VisAbility. Incredibly sporty, he enjoys basketball and cricket. The year 5 pupil has already met with Ryan Honschooten, VisAbility Youth Support Officer. Ryan is keen to get him training for Goalball in the future.

And where will the money go?

“I’d like the money to go towards Guide Dogs and sensory therapy toys in the Children and Youth Services Centre.”

VisAbility will be presented with a cheque at an upcoming assembly.

If you’d like to find out more about the work we do for children and young people, then visit our Children and Youth Services page.