For most fathers, going for a walk with their child is a very simple task. So simple that it can be easy to take it for granted. But for Martin Ralfe and his one-year-old son Leo, going out is a real challenge.
Father and son have little time to leave room for chance. If Martin is blind, his son is visually impaired. Also, each of their excursion outside their home of St Helens, Merseyside, requires careful planning.
Martin may be blind, but this 29-year-old dad refuses to let it prevent him from spending time with his son traveling around the city. It is on TikTok that father and son regularly reveal videos of their daily lives, showing how they prepared for an outing with Diesel, Martin’s guide dog. If now thousands of followers follow their adventure, Martin takes advantage of this virtual popularity to educate others about visual impairment, proving that it in no way affects his relationship with his family.
A special link
It was Samantha, 31, who encouraged Martin to date her son. Obviously, the couple did not expect that the videos shot would be so successful! Early on, Martin had some reservations about going out alone with Leo. From now on, father and son can no longer do without their weekends of exploration with Daniel. “Leo and I always spend our weekends together exploring the world together,” he commented.
Ensuring the safety of his son
“It’s so important that Leo go out to discover the world! “confided the fulfilled dad to the Mirror newspaper. Diesel is a faithful ally in the smooth running of their walks. “I also rely a lot on muscle memory to be able to walk around with Leo,” added Martin. Seriously, Martin assured him, he would never carry Leo anywhere unless he had done the route himself several times. “Even recently, over time, nettles have grown further, so I have to check this stuff,” he slipped.
When Martin and Leo escape, a whole ritual takes place. “We have to make sure the weather, make sure Diesel really wants to go out and prepare water and snacks,” he said. But, for them, the most important thing is one thing: “We take food to feed the ducks, because the mantra of the scouts is to always be ready! he laughed. If Martin thought of the pram to install his son, he quickly gave up, opting for a baby carrier and of course ensuring his son’s safety, ensuring that he was well attached behind his shoulders, facing the ‘before. Walks that the little boy seems to love smiling and laughing constantly when he is strolled by his father.
Genuine support for Leo
Leo, described as cheeky, adventurous and empathetic, was diagnosed with cataracts at an early age and later diagnosed with nystagmus. Now his parents are waiting for new results. “Leo can certainly see colors and shapes, his glasses are now enlarged which certainly helps him more,” explained Martin. Father and son are an unwavering duo, with Martin also thinking to give him extra support due to his own disability. “I think it’s because I understand what it is and what he’s going through. For example, a tantrum might not be a tantrum, he might be frustrated or upset because of eye pain,” he said.
An educational account
Martin @martinralfe’s TikTok account now has thousands of subscribers gathered around videos of family walks but also more educational ones like taking care of guide dogs, etc. “I used to do the same thing on Facebook, but then moved it to TikTok,” Martin revealed. “I get so many amazing comments. A lot of people praise me, but I’m just a normal father who goes on with his life,” he humbly pointed out. Seeking to answer a growing number of questions around visual impairment, Martin hopes to create other, ever more educational content. But the priority remains Leo. “Currently on our to-do list is visiting classic places like Disney Land, but Leo is particularly interested in trains too, so we would like to go to the National Railway Museum in York,” he concluded.