Proud parents thank public as Jacob joins junior infants
THE parents of a boy born with no eyes have said they will be the proudest family in the country when their son starts mainstream school today.
Brave Jacob Nowak, who has just celebrated his fifth birthday, was born with a rare condition called Anophthalmia that left him without eyeballs or optic nerves.
His parents Mariusz and Wiola had once feared that Jacob, from Millstreet, would have no quality of life and no access to top-class healthcare after discovering there was no funding available to cover his €300,000 medical bills.
But an overwhelming response from the Irish public transformed his life and has enabled him to travel to Germany every six months for the past four years for vital treatment.
But the courageous youngster has made such strong progress and responded so well to treatment that his medical team gave his parents the green light to start him in junior infants at Millstreet Presentation National School, where he will have a full-time Special Needs Assistant.
"I'm extremely proud that Jacob is starting school," said his Mariusz (33), a carpenter originally from Poland. "There will be no prouder parents anywhere than us. Five years ago we could never have possibly dreamt that Jacob would get to this stage.
"When he was born and we discovered what his condition was, we were just devastated. But the Irish people were fantastic and without their generous donations, I don't think Jacob would have got to this stage."
The Nowaks, who also have a 10-year-old daughter, say they remain hopeful that one day they might find a cure for Jacob's blindness.