It started off as a normal day for Gavin Stevens, a 4-year-old who was born blind. His mom, Jennifer Stevens, picked him up from his Eastvale, Calif. preschool, and was prepared to do what she usually does: hold her young son's hand, guiding him off the curb. This time was different, however. When she went to help Gavin, he suddenly told his mother, “No, I’ll do it.”
Stevens, 37, recently told TODAY Moms that she immediately pulled out her phone to capture the moment on video, which she uses instead of photos so her young son can hear their memories.
“You can do it, baby. Go ahead,” Jennifer can be heard telling her son, who has been working for months with a mobility therapist.
In the video, Gavin can be seen making his way to the curb, and tapping it with his cane for several moments before figuring out where he can safely step off.
“He’s so determined,” Stevens said. “He doesn’t know he’s blind."
The ambitious 4-year-old, who attends the Blind Children’s Learning Center in Santa Ana, Calif., once a week in addition to a special-needs preschool, was born blind. While he somehow passed all of his pediatric eye exams, he was diagnosed with Leber's congenital amaurosis (a rare genetic disease of the retina that affects only 1 in 50,000 children) shortly after birth.
“That was the most devastating day of our life,” said Stevens, who added that when they finally got the diagnosis they "started to heal." She started the Gavin R. Stevens Foundation in an effort to learn more about the disease and help other children like Gavin.
While Gavin is busy with other "firsts" these days (this past year he rode his first tricycle and learned his first braille letter, "G"), Stevens hopes the video can provide encouragement.
“I thought it would be inspiring to other parents of children just starting to use a cane,” she said. It turns out, the video is inspiring to us all.