LOUDONVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) – An Ashland County second grader is celebrating a special milestone, writing his very first book, and making his mother proud on Mother’s Day.
At just 7 years old, Peter Heath is a published author, but it’s not just his age that’s making this accomplishment remarkable; Peter is also blind.
“He was completely sighted when he started first grade, and by the end of first grade, he was blind,” said Beth Heath, Peter’s mother.
A year ago Friday, Peter was diagnosed with Batten disease, a rare neurological disorder that started by taking his sight.
“He really does inspire me,” Beth said. “He, I mean, I close my eyes just for a little bit sometimes just to see what he goes through. He’s still joyful. He doesn’t complain very much.”
His mom and dad said Peter loves books, and one day told them he wanted to be an author.
“He came up with the idea of telling a story about Marshmallow his white cane, from Marshmallow’s point of view,” Beth said.
The idea took off.
“He doesn’t let anything stop him,” Beth said. “He has a dream and we say, ‘OK, let’s find a way to make it work.”
When asked what kind of things Peter and Marshmallow like to do, the young author said, “Like karate, or horses.”
And Peter doesn’t stop at the written word; he plays soccer and the piano, loves building with Legos, and said he’s also into zip lining.
“A disability doesn’t have to stop you,” Beth said. “Just because you’re differently-abled doesn’t mean that you’re not able.”
Peter held his very first book signing Friday at the Loudonville Public Library, but instead of signing each book by hand, he offered his readers a unique sort of signature.
“I had a stamp and a sticker,” Peter said.
“So the stamp was his signature from first grade, so he could just stamp it,” Beth said. “And what did the Braille sticker say?”
“Love, Peter,” Peter said.
In January, Peter went on an adventure with Marshmallow and his family, traveling to Disney World.
“That’s going to be the next book,” Peter said.
“As a mom, just to watch him handle live, I tell him all the time that he’s my hero,” Beth said.
“The Adventures of Marshmallow and Peter” is available from Amazon or Barnes and Noble, with half of the proceeds going toward Batten disease research.