A Mount Dora boy started fourth grade this week and, for him, it was a week of many firsts.
Creed Pettit, 9, returned to Mount Dora Christian Academy on Tuesday and, for the first time, he doesn’t need to sit next to his teacher to get extra help.
Creed was legally blind. He still uses eyeglasses on a daily basis, but he is now able to see things more clearly than ever before.
In March, Creed underwent a newly approved gene therapy called Luxturna. The procedure allowed him to regain the sight he had lost as a baby.
“I don’t usually sit up in the front anymore,” Creed said.
His teacher, Natalie Swearingen, said she was aware of Creed’s vision issues, so she had prepared for them in the new school year. With the success from the surgery, however, Creed no longer needs special lighting in order to see.
“I’m totally honored to be able to be the first teacher to have him after his surgery,” Swearingen said. “(It’s special) to go from being pretty much told that he’ll never be able to see or do all of these things, to now be sitting in this classroom, just like every other child.”
News 6 first told Creed’s story in October 2017. At the time, Luxturna had not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“I’ve wanted this for a long time,” said Creed’s mother, Sarah Pettit. “And I think it’s so neat to know that he now can sit with his peers and interact with them.”
Pettit no longer sends Creed to school with lamps and extra flashlights that he used to need in order to complete tasks.
“He taught me (that) you need to never quit,” Pettit said. “He is absolutely the biggest inspiration I will ever have.”