Tim Rees is in his final semester of his psychology degree and is hoping to go further with it. Photo: Tim Rees.

When he was just nine-years-old, Cootamundra’s Tim Rees did not expect to lose his sight and many would have imagined that it would change his life forever.

But Tim did not want to believe that would be the case.

Spending his primary school years in town at Sacred Heart Central School and then high school at Hennessy Catholic College, he was known as a “beautiful boy with a gentle personality” by his parents.

At Sacred Heart, Tim said it was the foundation to his education, in particular with the learning of braille.

Some of his highlights at Sacred Heart included time away from the classroom such as Homebush athletics and Eastern Creek cross-country.

Moving into high school is certainly a new environment for any kid but it must have been increasingly challenging for Tim with the need to catch a bus to Young and to complete Year 12 over two years.

But Tim defied all odds placed against him when he won a science award in his first Year 12 and then graduating with an amazingly supportive year group the following year.

Mr Rees said much of the credit of his high school success goes to his year coordinator Mrs Jessica McInerney who helped him get through the year and made him feel a sense of belonging.

With supportive family and community around him, 23-year-old Tim said he has always backed himself to get into university no matter the circumstances.

“We still have no confirmation of why it happened [the loss of sight] or what caused it but I coped to the best of my ability supported by my amazing family and great friends,” he said.

“I dealt with what most adolescent boys do, I do a graduate program now and do anything where my degree takes me.”

Tim on holidays in Sydney this week. Photo: Tim Rees.

Since 2017 Tim has been a psychology student at the University of Canberra and is currently in his final semester of studies.

On campus he has been involved in goalball, volunteering with red frogs as well as serving at church.

During his younger days he would enjoy playing soccer and Aussie Rules.

When around family, Mum Kristin Rees said Tim has a cheeky smile but is known to be an amazing brother, always being there for his sister Alex. “

He cares deeply for his family and has a great lot of friends,” she said.

“We were thrilled when he got into UC and we have been super proud of all his achievements thus far.”

Tim’s testimony has recently earned him a feature on UC’s ‘Uncover’ online platform and a 15-minute documentary video has been produced to encompass that.

In the publication, UC mentioned that Tim has been working closely with the university’s Inclusion and Engagement Team.

In doing so by articulating his needs, UC has sought for solutions that would “help set him up for success”.

This includes introducing assistive devices and support, to additional one-on-one tutoring and other various support services.

Christopher Tan