Ex-soldier in new fight to save his vision
A blind 78-year-old veteran is battling to get funds to visit experts in the United States he hopes could restore some of his vision.
Alan Burrows, a former captain of Bermuda Regiment who has been diagnosed with end-stage glaucoma and lost his vision last October, wants surgeons at Johns Hopkins hospital in Baltimore to assess whether they can make him see again.
However he lives on a pension of little more than $600 a month, more than half of which goes on FutureCare payments, meaning he cannot afford to fly overseas.
Mr Burrows hopes Financial Assistance will be able to help fund his trip.
He has met with Government staff and aims to provide them a doctors referral for assessment overseas because there are no glaucoma experts on the Island.
If he gets the go-ahead for treatment, Mr Burrows hopes FutureCare will cover most of the costs of surgery.
Mr Burrows served as a soldier in Bermuda 1954 to 1990, working his way up from a private soldier to captain.
He now lives in a small house in Devonshire, with his 80-year-old sister, who acts as his caregiver. He says most of his income goes on bills and basic groceries and he has given up of hope of buying luxuries such as new clothes.
They wont be able to restore my sight completely, but the doctors have said it might be possible to give me back some of my vision, he said.
If it was left to me on my own I wouldnt be able to go overseas. Now the Bermuda Legion is helping, its the only lifeline I have left.
As long as I could get assessed I would have relief in my mind that I did everything I could to try to get my sight back.
Carol Everson, a welfare case worker for the Bermuda Legion, which has been assisting the veteran, said: Mr Burrows is an old soldier and we are advocating on his behalf.
No country with the welfare of its people at heart would allow Mr Burrows to live with such a minimal quality of life as he presently has.
This treatment may give Mr Burrows the opportunity to have a better quality of life for his remaining years.
Mrs Everson commended Government for changing its Financial Assistance so that seniors with an interest in property are able to claim assistance; Mr Burrows owns a one-fifth share in his house, which previously made him ineligible for Financial Assistance.
The Royal Gazettes Cost of Living series has highlighted how many people are struggling to cope with increasing food prices and bills during the economic crisis.
Mr Burrows said: After you retire, you are in trouble. I retired with no savings because all my money was burned out. The seniors in Bermuda are all under the same hammer.
A Government spokesman had not replied to our request for a response by press time.
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