|New Hampshire Association for the Blind
To advance the independence of persons who are blind and visually impaired
Each year the New Hampshire Association for the Blind helps many hundreds of people continue to lead active and independent lives despite severe vision loss. But our many vital services receive no operational government funding. Over 70% of our client services are paid for by charitable contributions.
"Whole New World"
Bette Smith is 81 and lives in the Seacoast region of New Hampshire. She has been visually impaired for several decades due to macular degeneration, which damages central vision.
Bette is living safely and independently in her own home – and enjoying life as much as ever – thanks to help from the Association.
Our low vision and vision rehabilitation therapists have shown Bette how to make the most of her remaining eyesight using optical aids and devices. As Bette has found out, it's not merely how much vision you have left, but how well you can use it effectively.
Bette contacted our Seacoast office in Dover and asked for help – she's so glad she did! She regularly attends our Peer Support and Technology Users Groups, which helped her, remain engaged, informed, connected and empowered to live a full and active life. As Bette said; "I walked into a whole new world! I just love the people who participate in these groups. They are young and vital and caring. They are upbeat and full of energy. They walk through he door with a dog or a cane and are ready to greet the world. And they value me for the wisdom I can share from my years of life. It gives me a greater sense of purpose."
Doug Willis Getting Back to Something He Loves
Twenty-four years ago, shortly after her marriage to Robert, Kathy Wyrick received a diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis, which ultimately led to an eye condition affecting her vision. Now, Kathy is legally blind. She says, “Blindness is a lifestyle change but I try not to allow my medical issues and sight challenges to define who I am as a person.” Kathy feels fortunate with the unconditional love from her family and a faithful little dog named Chamois. While Kathy freely admits, “this is not the life my husband and I chose,” it could be a lot worse.
Today, Kathy maintains a beautiful home, cooks, makes jewelry and other crafts, and is an avid gardener. She works along side her husband as business owners of Warner’s Card and Gift Shop in Portsmouth. This is one way Kathy stays actively involved in her community. Warner’s has been in Robert’s family for many years. Though Kathy has good days and bad days, her philosophy is to “be happy with what you can accomplish.” Kathy’s husband says that he “often forgets that she is blind because she acts so independent.”
“If you believe, you can do it!” So says David Patton, a client at the New Hampshire Association for the Blind. In 2008, David lost much of his sight due to two strokes. Driving truck was no longer an option for his livelihood. Being an active and productive member of society was very important to him. He sought help from a number of sources including Steve Barbas at Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired who works closely with professionals at the New Hampshire Association for the Blind. Together, they helped David. He learned white cane travel, applied for and attended Guiding Eyes for the Blind and has a guide dog, named Sabrina.
David loves to bake and has started his own specialty cake business, PattyCake, PattyCake. He created a special cake for the Association’s 2011 Blind Awareness Walk-A-Thon. Besides baking, David is busy with his wife and four children. He is a member of the Manchester Lions Club and was recently asked to serve on the Board of NH Soccer Association TOPSoccer, a soccer program for disabled kids.
Jessica Laurie is on the move! Born with Retinitis Pigmentosa, Jessica has little useable vision. Yet at an early age she learned how to ride horseback, ski down a mountain, swim and run — all activities she continues to do today!
In fact Jessica and her guide dog, Otis, have left Georges Mills, New Hampshire and are now finding their way around Providence, RI where Jessica started her freshman year at Providence College this past September. Business/Law/Health are her interests at this point. With a strong work ethic and gritty determination, Jessica navigates the city of Providence and college life from doing her laundry, handling her finances, attending classes, and much more.
Other Client Storires:
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