I have been totally blind since birth due to what is nowadays called Retinopathy of Prematurity, also known as RLF. This was thought to have been caused by an over-abundance of oxygen administered to premature infants while incubated, a term now called hyperoxia. Doctors today know how to administer oxygen to premature babies, but RLF still occurs with low birth weight, high risk babies and the precise mechanisms remain largely unknown.
Somehow, my parents sensed that coddling and overprotecting me would not be helpful. I was encouraged to explore the world; playing out-of-doors with neighborhood friends, even learning to ride a bicycle. My dad taught me horseback riding as well which fostered a sense of freedom and confidence in me.
I was educated at two schools for the blind both of which equipped me with the necessary skills—-reading and writing braille as well as orientation and mobility, the safe and effective means used for travel by those who are blind and visually impaired.
Upon college graduation with a major in Early Childhood Education, I worked at local pre-schools using music and cooking with children as my vehicle for teaching . I was later employed at a residential school assisting blind and intellectually challenged adults in learning music and daily living skills. This was a very rewarding position and I felt humbled and gratified in it.
The next years were spent most happily raising my daughter as a stay-at-home mom. This is often something people are curious about. As in life, you create methods of managing situations which work for you.
It is at this time when I began training with my first guide dog and experiencing the wonder of the team you can become. Over the years, I have enjoyed the partnership and love of seven guides.
The love of crafts and teaching were next combined in a unique employment opportunity in a bead shop. Learning the art of jewelry making, I taught classes to children and conducted Beading birthday parties both in the store and at individual homes.
Having always aspired to become a medical professional, I attended specific schooling and in 1995, became the first Licensed totally blind Massage Therapist in Connecticut. For almost 25 years I have worked in chiropractic offices, a medically supervised wellness facility, and in my own private practice specializing in pain relief and rebalance.
Volunteer work has been a part of my life from early on. During high school and college I enjoyed playing the guitar and singing in hospital pediatric wards. As well I have spent many hours in school and other settings speaking about life as someone who is blind and living with fulfillment. It has also been my privilege to serve on a number of advisory boards including the start up for Connecticut’s Radio Information Service. Most recently my husband Bill, also blind, and I give assistance at a Low Vision group in town and sing with and for Alzheimer clients in a local Friendship Circle.
For recreation I enjoy knitting, baking from scratch, reading, and tandem bicycle riding. Most of all, we love spending time with our two grand-children and the rest of our large and close knit family.