This short multi media narrative aims to explore the theme of “what’s hidden” by allowing Ralph and Tracey to describe how Ralph sees the world. Ralph is unable to see but this does not mean his ability to see the world around him is hidden.
Ralph Harvey was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Lawrence Moon Beidi Syndrome in 1969. One of the major side effects of Lawrence Moon Beidi Syndrome is retinal degeneration, which leads to a loss of eye sight. Ralph was age 20 when he began to notice his vision was fading. Very quickly his condition began to deteriorate and Ralph was left completely blind in both eyes.
As we sat down and chatted about his love for radio I was continually amazed by his unique perspective and incredible attention to detail. Ralph can sit for hours and discuss complicated aspects of cricket or rugby league in great depth, a particularly remarkable feat given he has never watched a sporting match in his life. This is possible because losing his vision has taught Ralph to listen to information very carefully and pay close attention to what is being said in all situations. Ralph also loves talk back radio and can describe scenes from reality TV show ‘The Block’ as if images of the show were imprinted in the front of his mind.
Ralph’s ability to speak so openly about his condition is a particularly refreshing characteristic and he uses his excellent listening skills and candid speech to clearly articulate the challenges associated with being blind. Ralph also explained that it is entirely possible to live a full and rewarding life without use of his eyes as long as you maintain a positive frame of mind. He said that although he would welcome the opportunity to regain the use of his eyes, it was not something he worried about. He is a man who has made the most of his situation in life and does not harbour any regrets or languish in self-pity.
Tracey James is employed to care for Ralph and She is continually astounded by his astute, fun loving nature and astonishing sensory capabilities including a strong sense of direction and excellent communication skills. Tracey describes how Ralph has not allowed his debilitating vision impairment to stop him from experiencing the world in much the same way as the people around him.