Imagine your typical day.
You get up in the morning, make a cup of coffee, read the morning news, send the children off to school, get dressed, and make your way to work.
Now imagine doing all of this without sight.
This is my reality every day.
It all started about 20 years ago. At first, I had trouble seeing clearly after a change in lighting. Soon, reading my mail or books became difficult. As my peripheral vision faded, I began to lose my balance, to trip, and bumped into objects a lot.
The doctors said it was the result of a rare disease called Wolfram syndrome, which begins with diabetes at a very young age. They told me that within a few years, I would be completely blind. I was absolutely petrified.
I felt completely lost and alone, and I slowly withdrew from the world. My friends gradually began disappearing too – they just didn’t know how to deal with someone with vision loss, and I couldn’t participate in any of the old activities with them.
There were so many emotions I was feeling – denial, shame, the sense of being trapped. I isolated myself in the basement apartment and wouldn’t go outside for weeks on end. I wrestled with questions like how will I ever work again, run a household, have a family… how could I lead a normal life.
Desperate and with nowhere else to go, I followed the advice of my eye doctor and reluctantly contacted the MAB-Mackay. I had no idea how helpful they would be in turning my life around.
Since going blind, I never imagined I’d be able to read again, prepare a meal for family, use a computer, get a job, or have friends. I owe the MAB-Mackay so much for making all these things possible – and so much more.
They showed me how to function again and do so many of the everyday things I took for granted before I lost my vision. In the kitchen, they showed me how to cut and chop safely, and even to identify the salt, pepper and appliances with Braille. I learned to take care of myself again, to organize my clothes, put on makeup, and do my hair in the morning. They introduced me to computers with a special keyboard and text-to-speech software, which allows me to be connected to the world.
The MAB-Mackay taught me how to walk safely outside, through strategies with a white cane and listening to cars on the street. They even helped me find a career and become certified as a massage therapist. I now feel part of society, and am proud to have my own income and contribute to the family.
With understanding, caring, and compassion, they set me back on the right path. Today, I no longer feel useless and lost. Without the MAB-Mackay, I don’t think I would have wanted to live.
Most importantly, the MAB-Mackay helped me to find the courage and ability to become a mother. Not being able to see my son’s face is a painful part of my reality, which I’ve learned to accept. But I’m proud to be able to raise and take care of him. It’s more than the childcare techniques they showed me – like changing his diaper or taking his temperature with no vision when he was younger. It’s that I’ve shown my son, and myself, how to be strong, to love, and to persevere. My love for him keeps me going.
My journey with the MAB-Mackay is far from over. I’ll need them to help me learn bus routes, understand software upgrades on my computer, adapt new appliances at home, and even prepare me for a guide dog. It’s reassuring to know they’ll be there for me, teaching me strategies to support my son as he enters his teenage years. With your help, I know I can count on them to support me in the future.
A most grateful client…