Hi! My name is Bryce Martin.
In 2014, I was born on February 4th in Roanoke, Virginia. My mom was induced at 35 weeks because she had severe pre-eclampsia (really high blood pressure). Thirty six hours later, I arrived strong weighing 6 pounds 13 ounces.
My mom tells me that I was no different than any newborn, with feedings every 2 hours, the usual dirty diapers and very little sleep for everyone in the house. But I was growing every day, and although fussy, I was her perfect baby boy.
During the next 3 months, I constantly cried, and my mom struggled to soothe me. The pediatricians tried to help by treating me for reflux and colic. Nothing worked, and my mom knew in her heart that something was wrong.
When I turned 4 months old, my mom noticed my eyes began making strange movements; it looked like my eyes were always searching and bouncing here and there. She mentioned her concerns to the pediatrician, and we were immediately referred to a pediatric ophthalmologist.
After the appointment with the pediatric ophthalmologist, my mom and dad received the news that no parent wants to hear— something was wrong with my optic nerves. After being evaluated by doctors at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins, I was officially diagnosed with a congenital disorder called Optic Nerve Hypoplasia (ONH).
I was blind.
For the next three years, my family and I traveled back and forth from the east coast to the Los Angeles Children's Hospital. They wanted to ensure I had the best care with the only pediatric neuro-ophthalmologist that specializes in ONH. I had numerous tests, assessments, surgeries, and hospital visits with pediatric neuro-ophthalmologists, pediatric neurologists and pediatric endocrinologists.
My parents were champions of my healthcare, but they knew nothing about the world of raising a blind or visually impaired child. They needed information and assistance and finding that was a challenge.
This led to the start of the Bryce Martin Foundation, which supports blind and visually impaired children and their families.
This foundation has been a ray of light in my life. I cannot express how grateful I am for this community, this village, this family of support for all blind and visually impaired families.
Spirit of Collaboration
City of Raleigh
Mayor's Committee for Persons with Disabilities