Last year we shared the first part of Caitlin’s Story; the tale of a tenacious teenager with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), and her life changing eye gaze journey.
Sadly, Caitlin passed away in November. Her absolute determination to get the most out of her difficult life was inspiring to everyone who met her and heard her story. She achieved so much in her life, and did not let her disability prevent her from transforming the lives of others.
Caitlin had become passionate about eye gaze and fundraising for eye gaze devices. She was driven by a desire to give others the same freedom she had discovered with her device.
Her fundraising campaign was beyond successful. It not only covered the cost of her own Grid Pad, but hit target after target – and prior to her death, she had raised an incredible £33k toward eye gaze systems for people in similar situations to herself.
Two eye gaze systems have already been gifted, and we look forward to sharing how the individuals get on with their new devices. You can meet Finlay, an 11-year-old boy with Cerebral Palsy and the first of Caitlin’s beneficiaries, in the video below. It’s amazing to think that even after her death, Caitlin’s generosity will continue to touch the lives of others.
If you would like to find out more about Caitlin’s fundraising campaign, you can read the updates she would spend time writing here. Caitlin wrote these to share her progress with everyone that donated to her cause.
In memory of Caitlin, her sister Lucy has set up a Facebook group called Caitlin’s Stars to raise money for The Graeae Theatre Company – another cause close to Caitlin’s heart. She felt very passionately about disabled actors being able to perform alongside able bodied actors on stage. You can find out more here.
A message from Caitlin’s family
We are so bereft and heartbroken that Caitlin is no longer with us, but we are so incredibly proud of what she managed to achieve in her short life. Everyone who met Caitlin, especially in the last few years, was always truly inspired by her amazing love of life, her tenacity, her beautiful singing voice and her absolute determination to get the most out of her dreadfully short and sometimes difficult life. This was shown so aptly in her fundraising campaign when she decided that, once she had raised enough for her own eye gaze system, it would be wonderful if she could change other young people’s lives as well and give them the independence they craved so kept on fundraising!
Caitlin was incredibly proud of the videos she made with Smartbox and loved the whole process involved in making the films. She had seen and approved all the videos and we know she would have loved them to be shown after her death. She was so delighted with the positive response from the first video.