A former volunteer firefighter and paramedic never thought he would see again a decade ago.
November 28, 2018, his life forever changed again and this time for the better.
The arrive Wednesday was an early Christmas present that no one could fault him for opening a month early as it will provide the gift of sight.
Local Four News first introduced you to David Hereid Jr. this summer and got an exclusive look at the technology when his own pair arrived at his door.
A rare condition rapidly took the vision in both of his eyes about ten years ago.
He sees at about 20-500, which Hereid describes as viewing through a cloudy fishbowl.
With the glasses, that improves to 20-30.
“It’s a night and day difference,” David Hereid Jr. said. “Being able to enjoy what’s going on around you instead of just being there. Being able to interact with your loved ones. Reading a book. Watching a movie.”
Hereid’s wife learned about eSight Electronic Glasses by accident when she saw something on TV.
Last December, he tested out a pair and was able to see his wife and stepdaughter’s face clearly for the first time.
A camera on the front helps to enhance what is front of Hereid and make it something his eyes and brain can process.
To get his own pair was a bit more of a challenge.
It meant raising $10,000.
In early November, that’s when the price was reduced as part of a special promotion and the $6,450 raised this far was the amount needed to make it possible.
David Hereid Jr. said, “I’ve struggled for ten years. A lot of heartaches. A lot of headaches.”
David Hereid Sr. said, “Like I said, it’s a Miracle Day.”
David Hereid Jr. said, “And this little bitty box is going to change my life forever.”
No stocking stuffer or present under the tree will ever compare.
David Hereid Jr. said, “For the last ten years when my family asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I always made a smart remark back. My vision. My family gave it to me this year.”
One member of his family, most of all, was the reason he wanted to check this item off the Christmas list.
His 9-year-old stepdaughter.
David Hereid Sr. said, “He said, you know dad, my daughter’s signed up for softball, you know I can’t play catch with my girl.”
His dad said at first his son said he didn’t think the glasses were for him because of the cost but when his daughter was on deck that changed everything.
David Hereid Jr. said, “I’ve been there for her growing up. I didn’t get to watch her grow up.”
So she got the ball rolling.
David Hereid Jr. said, “She donated the first $1.58 cause that’s what I had in my pant’s pocket.”
His family, several area businesses, and the Long Grove and other fire departments raised the cash.
David Hereid Sr. said, “He loved helping other people, so when we did this fundraiser, I thinking, well, he’s getting some of that love back.”
So Hereid can finally see what is most precious.
David Hereid Jr. said, “She has her Christmas program on December 13, and this will be the first time I will actually be able to see any of the things that she’s done.”
But it was his wife, dad and stepmom who were the first to see a new lease on life Hereid never thought he would have.
David Hereid Jr. said, “I was just told there were so many different things that I couldn’t do or wouldn’t be able to do that try to have them stop me now.”
A technology gifting for many memorable Christmases to come.
David Hereid Jr. said, “Watch them open Christmas presents. Decorate the Christmas tree.”
Hereid told Local Four News while he won’t be able to drive with the glasses on, it will allow for him to work again, although not as a front-line firefighter.
Hereid will now have several weeks of training on operating the glasses, and it will come with assistance for the rest of his life if he needs help with his pair.
Hereid also told Local Four News his focus will now change that he has his eSight glasses.
He said he plans to continue his fundraising effort so others who are legally blind and can benefit from eSight will be able to buy a pair.
He will also work on education about the technology and help other eSight users.
The eSight Electronic Glasses have a retail price is $9,500.