May 26, 2022

Cayman Islands “Lady Rabia” tells how she is going blind

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Stratford-upon-Avon-author-Rabia-Abdul-HakimBY MIKE LOCKLEY From Birmingham Mail

Children’s author to climb mountain in aid of charity for visually impaired.

Popular children’s author Rabia Abdul-Hakim, who writes under the pen-name Lady Rabia, is going blind.

She can no longer recognise her own children unless they stand very close to her.

But the 43-year-old writer from Stratford-upon-Avon is defying her loss of sight.

She plans to climb Snowdon to raise funds for a charity for the visually impaired.

Stratford-upon-Avon-author-Rabia-Abdul-Hakim-1Mum-of-six Rabia, born in the Cayman Islands, wrote the Kaa Kaa & Tokyo series of books among many others.

She was diagnosed with degenerative corneal disease Keratoconus while in her 20s but, despite failing sight, she set up her own publishing and media company.

Now Rabia, a former champ in the martial art of taekwondo, has signed up for Focus Birmingham’s Climb Snowdon Challenge on April 23.

She will be joined on the trek by her six children, aged from nine to 22.

Stratford-upon-Avon author Rabia Abdul-Hakim.Stratford-upon-Avon author Rabia Abdul-Hakim.
Rabia, whose taekwando prowess earned her the Cayman Island’s Sportsperson of the Year award in 1992, reveals: “I was diagnosed with keratoconus, a disease which causes the cornea to thin and stretch, in 1998.

Stratford-upon-Avon-author-Rabia-Abdul-Hakim-2“But I had been having problems with my eyes from the age of nine.

“It was happening so slowly that I didn’t realise until I was in my 20s.

“The disease I have is progressive but, because I was diagnosed late, some of the known treatments can no longer help me.

“It has been difficult and daunting, especially while I was bringing up a family, writing books, and trying to start a business, but I was determined not to let it get the better of me.”

Rabia, a champion for the visually impaired who moved to Stratford in 2014, uses aids such as an audio reader, electronic magnifier and text software. She also manages her condition with special contact lenses.

“They worked well for the last 14 years,” she explained, “but last year my eyes started rejecting them.

“So, the only possible solution now is a cornea transplant, which is the last option for a doctor to try, unless they can find another lens that works.

“For a long time I dealt with the fact that I am battling to save my sight and kept it as my own little secret. Even now, very few people in the Cayman Islands know how bad my sight really is.

“But the reality is that I can’t see to read without visual aids and I can’t recognise my own children unless they are really close up. I guess I am still coming to terms with it myself.”

Rabia intends to help others by taking part in Focus Birmingham’s Snowdon challenge.

The organisation is the city’s largest support agency for the visually impaired.

She added: “I am a former athlete so I continue to keep fit by going running, as well as skipping and doing weight training. All of my kids are working out as well in preparation to climb Snowdon with me.”

* People can donate to Rabia’s Snowdon challenge by visiting her Just Giving page at – and anyone wishing to join her on Snowdon on April 23 can register online by visiting

* You can start fundraising as soon as you sign up by going on or and selecting Focus Birmingham as your chosen charity.

IMAGES: Stratford-upon-Avon author Rabia Abdul-Hakim.

For more on this story go to:

EDITOR: Lady Rabia was a regular contributor to iNews Cayman when we first published with her Kaa Kaa & Tokyo cartoon series. I also knew her when she was a member, as I was, of the Cayman Islands Writers Circle. I am deeply sorry to learn of this.

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  1. […] Lady Rabia, our first featured guest and cover model for CAPTIVATING! was born with poor eyesight which was her norm. But can you imagine what it must have been like to suddenly not be able to see when driving? For 25 years she managed quite well with her poor vision. Yet it wasn’t until this scary driving incident that she found out she had the progressive eye disease Keratoconus.  […]

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