Upon seeing his wife’s face for the first time, one man had only two works to say.

One in every 8,000 people are diagnosed with Stargardt’s disease, a rare genetic eye disease that happens when fatty material builds up on the part of the retina needed for sharp, central vision. The disease causes the afflicted to progressively go blind, which is what happened to Gene Purdie.

How One Woman Found the Love of Her Life

silhouette of a man and woman hugging
Photo by Jonathan Borba

Gene shows the truth behind the proverb ‘Love is Blind.’ He fell in love with Joy, who first was stung when she waved to him and he ignored her. Hurt, Joy asked Gene why he was “pretending not to see her,” which is how she discovered that Gene was blind.

That little hitch didn’t stop them from dating and getting married. They even started a family. Together, Gene and Joy had one son.

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One day while watching Rachael Ray’s show, Joy saw a visual rig from eSight that could help a blind person see. The segment showed a young woman being able to see her sister’s smile for the first time.

Joy immediately wrote to Rachael Ray to try her own luck at getting on the show.

“Although I heard Rachael Ray say that they were going to help someone see, I still did not believe it because we’ve always been told ‘no,’” Joy said. “I literally began shaking and crying for the next hour or more at the thought of my husband being able to see my face for the first time — to see our son for the first time.”

How the Rachael Ray Show Helped a Blind Man See for the First Time

Rachael Ray got back to Joy and invited the couple onto her show. In front of a live studio audience, Rachael Ray told Gene and Joy how excited she was for them.

As Gene slid the glasses on, his world came into focus. The entire room became emotional as Gene saw Joy’s face for the first time.

“Oh, she’s pretty,” he said.

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Gene then set his eyes on his son and the audience cried along with him.

Rachael Ray gave Gene the $15,000 visual rig to keep so he never has to forget the face of his wife and son.

Gene didn’t need to know what his wife looked like to love her — her heart, her passions, and her love is all that really mattered. But getting to finally see his wife and noting that she is beautiful was an added bonus.


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