Offshore energy company donates £1,500 to charity that supported staff member’s daughter
Workers at a north-east energy company donated £1,500 to a sensory charity that supported a staff member’s young child with a visual impairment.
The Aberdeen base of Nippon Gases handed over the cheque to North East Sensory Services (NESS) after the workforce won a step challenge that saw them compete against other divisions.
Scott Walker, who works for Nippon Gases, nominated NESS for the donation after the charity helped his daughter Lexi when their family first found out she was blind in one eye. Lexi, now 15, was born without an optical nerve behind her right eye, however it was not picked up until she was four as she was a very active child and there was nothing to suggest any issues with her sight. The family realised something was wrong when the youngster was playing a game with her mum which involved covering one eye and looking at pictures and saying what they could see.
“Lexi covered her right eye and said, ‘I just see black’. We were totally bewildered and shocked. We took her to get her eyes tested at the hospital and they told us that behind her right eye all they could see was a black mass. The doctor told us she had optic nerve hypoplasia, which meant the nerve behind the eye had not formed from when she was a foetus. Her eye is perfect. If she had an optic nerve, they could attach it and she would be able to see, but she doesn’t have one.”
After her diagnosis, Lexi and her family received support from NESS. The charity was on-hand to answer questions and visited Lexi’s school to ensure she was comfortable in her surroundings and able to see the front of the classroom so she could do her work.
NESS continued to do school visits and stayed in touch with the family through Lexi’s primary years, and still send regular updates about local events that she could participate in. Despite her visual impairment, Lexi went on to become a star gymnast – competing in national mainstream competitions – and she now hopes to start coaching others.
Scott told how he and his team were given a choice between receiving personal gift vouchers or having Nippon Gases make a donation to a charity of their choosing after they clocked up the highest combined step count in the business. He said:
“They asked if anyone had any ideas and NESS was the first thing that came into my head because the charity means a lot to me. It was a no-brainer. Once I explained why, all the guys in work agreed that it was a very worthy charity for it to go to. To know that it’s going to help people with sensory loss, whether that be young people or those who have deterioration in their sight or hearing as they get older, is just fantastic.”
Scott, from Aberdeen, added:
“We are so proud of Lexi and all that she continues to achieve. We tell her all the time – she has no idea how amazing she is.”
NESS supports thousands of people with visual and hearing impairments across Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Dundee, Moray and Angus. The charity’s main objective is to help people with sight or hearing loss live as independently as possible.
Lynn Batham, community fundraising coordinator for NESS
“We were delighted to receive this generous and kind donation from all the team at Nippon Gases in Aberdeen. It means so much to us as a charity and will go towards our work to support people with sensory loss. It’s also wonderful to hear how Scott’s daughter is continuing to thrive. We are so pleased that the family is so appreciative of the support NESS offered that they have thought to nominate us for a donation all these years later.”