Therapy could aid vision of little boy defying the odds

Courtney Black and son Owen, 6, with his recent diploma from Kindergarten at High Park School. Submitted Photo

Tara Jeffrey

They called him a miracle baby.

Owen Black wasn’t expected to be able to sit up, or even talk.

“He had a stroke before he was born,” said mom, Courtney. “He’s pretty much missing the whole right side of his brain.

“The doctor just told me to try and give him the best life possible.”

But Owen, now six, despite a slew of diagnoses — he’s legally blind and has ADHD, epilepsy, and cerebral palsy — is defying the odds, and thriving.

“Today, he’s walking, talking, attending school at High Park, and doing really well. Anyone who sees his MRI scans says they cannot believe he’s even standing here,” said Black, noting the youngster loves music, dancing, race tracks, and basketball — all using one hand, as his left side is too weak.

And things may get even better — if the Blacks can get a little help.

After meeting with a specialist in Windsor, they were told that optic nerve therapy could be their best chance for improving Owen’s vision.

That means spending a trial week in Windsor for daily, three-hour sessions at a cost of around $1,900.

“Owen’s blindness comes from pale optic nerves,” she explained. “So they aren’t fully developed. So what he’s seeing with his eyes is not getting to the brain, to figure out what’s going on.”

The therapy is not covered by insurance or ODSP, leaving Black scrambling to come up with the funds to reserve the last available week in July. If therapy goes well, Owen will go back for a second week, followed by weekly therapy sessions, at about $200 each.

“I’ve just been trying to do raffles and spreading the word about what’s going on with Owen, because, I mean, there’s no way I can afford this treatment on my own.”

A Go Fund Me Page has been set up (https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-owen-recieve-optic-nerve-therapy) with hopes to raise enough money to help cover the two weeks of treatment, along with transportation and other expenses.

While the treatment is not a guaranteed fix, doctors say if anyone has a fighting chance, it’s Owen.

“They said, ‘Look how far he’s come,’” said Black. “He’s determined.”

“He’s such an amazing kid,” she added. “He deserves this.”