When 54-year-old Joy Hoke got the devastating news in January 2014 that a rare condition would render her legally blind, her first thought was that she'd never see her only daughter, Lauren, walk down the aisle in her wedding dress. She had previously lost sight in her left eye due to non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION), a loss of blood flow to the optic nerve, and now doctors were telling her that her right eye would suffer the same fate--and the news was hard to take.
“I can’t drive. I can’t work. I can’t read and then I’m not going to be able to see my daughter get married or see my grandbabies,” Hoke, who lives in Sellinsgrove, PA, told ABC News. “Lauren told me after that fact that one of her first thoughts was, ‘Oh my gosh, my mom is never going to see me get married,’ but she didn’t verbalize that because she knew I was upset enough.”
But then came a surprising twist of fate. Hoke’s husband, Dave, received a text message from a friend telling him about a new pair of glasses for the legally blind. The glasses, made by a Canadian company called eSight, are actually a headset with a camera inside that captures video that is sent back to the headset in a form that a visually impaired user, like Hoke, can see. They cost $15,000, however--and insurance wouldn't cover it.
That's when friends and family stepped in. They set up a GoFundMe page and raised so much money that Hoke was soon able to purchase a pair of eSight glasses--and donate $2,000 to help another blind woman purchase a pair.
Blown away by the generosity, Hoke received her new glasses at the end of 2015 and was able to go back to the shop where Lauren, 26, purchased her wedding dress and watch her try it on again.
And on May 7, the ecstatic mom was able to see her daughter say “I do” to her new husband, Jeremy--an emotional day for the family that was captured by Megan Adams Photography.
“It was just so amazing,” Hoke said. “It’s such an answered prayer, from having the glasses work for me to the fundraising to seeing my daughter’s wedding, it’s all been an answer from God,” Hoke said.
See more photos from the family's beautiful, emotional day in this video.