Community raises enough money to help legally blind Maryville boy see

MARYVILLE (WATE) — “The story, the story just really touched my heart,” said owner of Hepperly Auto Sales, Steven Hepperly.

The story of Andrew Borden, 9, touched Hepperly’s heart so much he pledged to match up to $5,000 in donations going toward Andrew’s eSight eyewear.

Born with ocular albinism, Andrew has a lack of pigment in his hair, skin and eyes.

Andrew Borden

“I didn’t know Andrew and I just thought how could the community come together and help this little boy out so he could have 20/20 vision and I thought, why can’t we do it,” Hepperly said.

Hepperly took to his auto shop’s Facebook page to put out the call for help to give Andrew the gift of sight.

Previous story: Blount County school raising money to help student see

“Just to be real honest with you, I came from real humble beginnings. I was real poor,” said Hepperly. “When my wife and I got married, I hurt my back and was drawing $91 a week in workman’s compensation and we didn’t have anything. I know what it’s like to have a really big need in your life.”

Thanks to the countless viewers who donated and shared Andrew’s story, more than the $10,000 needed has been raised, and that’s without the match from Hepperly Auto.

“I responded when she said we don’t need you to match the funds I said well I want to set up a college fund for Andrew,” said Hepperly.

Hepperly Auto Sales recently set up that fund and put $1,000 in it to get Andrew started.

“It really means a lot, just being able to see 20/20 and a lot of people helping,” said Andrew.

This means no more carrying his computer cart to and from classes and no more barriers in the classroom.

“When those people came to my school and gave me money I had a couple people tell me that they had visual impairments also and it just felt good knowing there are other people,” said Borden. “Thank you a lot…. like a whole lot.”

Andrew’s Esight has been ordered and now it’s just a matter of weeks before Andrew will start seeing 20/20.

The Freemasons donated $5,000 to Andrew, his GoFundMe page and donations from Lenier Elementary have raised more than $3,400 combined and Larry and Sue Graves gave $1,000 last week which sealed the deal.

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