By Shruti Pushkarna
Dave Taylor, Editor of Losing My Sight Magazine started to lose his vision in 2013. He was dismissed from his job as a result. After being unemployed for nearly two years, he decided to start something of his own. He decided to publish a quarterly magazine called Losing My Sight. The magazine covers a wide range of subjects like politics, sports, food and health. In this interview, Dave talks about how his vision loss became an inspiration for starting a magazine. Dave strongly feels that no form of disability should stop anyone from dreaming and pursuing one’s passion.
I noticed my sight problem in August 2013 because I was walking into door frames and knocking cups of coffee over at my desk at work. As yet there is no definite cause to the problem that’s been established.
My initial response was that of total shock and disbelief. My sight loss affected 75 per cent of my visual field.
I was working for a security company at a local oil terminal for nearly eight years.
Being in the security industry your eyesight needs to be fairly good, unfortunately due to health and safety reasons I was dismissed on ill health grounds.
My wife was very supportive over my sight loss as were my family and friends, including the local church I attend.
On January 1st of this year having been unemployed for nearly two years, and having done some voluntary work as a campaigner on behalf of the RNIB (Royal National Institute for the Blind), I needed to do something to get the message across that there is life after sight loss. So I searched the internet for any publications but could not find anything I liked. Then I thought I would try and start a magazine myself. And that’s what I did, with no knowledge of how to begin!
The topics we cover are varied. We try to get some stories about people explaining how they deal with their sight loss or any other problems they may come across. We also cover topics related to other disabilities, politics, health, sports, recipes and so on. Basically any topic works as long as it is legal!
At first I was running the magazine myself, but very soon I realized that I can’t do this on my own and I needed help. The costs are being paid out of my own pocket and the funds are extremely limited. So I contacted my local university to seek volunteers to help me with the magazine who could use this experience towards their grades. One person responded and at present he is doing all my website design and helps to put the magazine together every three months. I also have a visually impaired sports writer, who is also doing this on a voluntary basis and he is going to put this experience into a portfolio so he can find employment in the future in the media business. These are the only people who are contributing on a voluntary basis to the magazine.
The initial response is “Wow, really! Where can I read it?” People also tell me that I’m an inspiration to others.
I have got responses from a number of visually impaired people who are pleased to see a magazine with such varied content. And some of them have also shown interest in contributing articles for the magazine.
The magazine is purely funded from my own pocket, which is not easy as I mentioned earlier. I am unemployed and have limited funds from a disability and unemployment benefit. I have no other funding at the moment.
Sustaining the magazine in the future will be difficult if I’m the only person funding it. I hope to sell advertising space. As we are a not for profit magazine, any funds I raise through advertising or through donations, it will take care of the operational costs. I also want to fund personal one to one counseling for people who are unable to cope with their sight loss. I know from personal experience how difficult it can be. Initially I also wanted to end my life because I thought I had lost everything. I need to promote Losing My Sight magazine not just in my own country but around the world, the more readers I have hitting the website, the more chances I will have selling advertising. Again, I will have to seek help from volunteers as I have no experience in fundraising.
Yes I would love to have readers from India, but having any partner at this stage in the life of the magazine I’m not certain of. Sure if I find anyone who is interested or who understands my passion about the magazine, I would be happy to partner with. However I leave this question with an open mind to see if anyone would like to invest with me and what they could bring to the table.
My plan for the magazine in the future is to have it read all over the world. At present, I am also setting up a YouTube account. I am in talks with a guy to volunteer as a videographer and I would also like to get into audio. And as I mentioned previously, I would like to fund one to one counseling for persons with visual impairment.
We vary anywhere between fifty to three hundred readers at present. And these represent blind and visually impaired as well as sighted people.
Bringing out this magazine is a huge achievement in my battle with sight loss. I want other visually impaired and blind people as well as their families to know that one should not let their disability stop them from doing the things one loves doing. Of course there will be obstacles but you learn to work around them.
My message is simple. Life does not stop with sight loss.