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Duncan Meerding’s upbringing can perhaps be thought of as typical of the average Hobartian. He grew up in the shadow of kunanyi/Mount Wellington, chased a vibrant interest in outdoor pursuits, and enjoyed his time at a local public school developing a sense of self and social justice.
At age 19, whilst just beginning to define his career aspirations, Duncan’s world was turned upside down. “It was mid-April when I noticed my sight was degenerating,” explains Duncan. “By December that same year I was legally blind.”
Duncan was struck by a rare genetic mitochondrial condition. “My uncle actually has the same thing, but as no one else in the family had been affected, none of us had thought too much about it,” he recalls. “To be honest, I’d almost forgotten about it…however within just a few months I had only about 5% of my sight remaining and it’s been that way for the past 15 or so years.”