Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Blindness Awareness Month

October is Blindness Awareness Month.  It was declared by the President a few years ago.  So great to have our own month!
This month we focus on facts about blindness, encouragement for hiring blind adults into the work force, and what it means to be a blind person.
(this is the ribbon for rare diseases)
This is also the three year anniversary for the start of our RDH12 Fund for Sight.  October is a special month.

I found some pictures on the internet that represent what Finley sees.  Since she is missing her central vision, this is what she sees:

This is why she has so much trouble seeing people's faces.  She tends to shy away from new people until she gets to know them because she cannot see them well.

This month Finley took in bookmarks to all of her classmates that she brailled with their names.  She and her vision teacher also did a braille demonstration and her braille teacher stated that Finley was "quite the little teacher" and did a great job.  This is the first time Finley has offered to show what she can do.  I am glad to see she is becoming more comfortable with braille.  Most of the kids in her classroom know her, and know what is going on with her, and I think that helps.  She has developed quite the core of kids who care about her and protect her fiercely.  She is very blessed.

This month also brings a lot of sadness, of course, because as we talk heavily about braille, and blindness, and what we need to get that cure, we are hit with the reality of Finley's situation.  When you look at her you have no idea that little by little this horrible disease is eating away those precious blue eyes.  You don't know how much longer she will see our faces, or walk without her cane on a daily basis.  In every day life, we tend to forget what is happening because we focus so much on her just being a typical little girl.  But the reality is there.  We can't wish it away because we want it so.

So - we are grateful for this opportunity to educate people on blindness.  There are over 1 million legally blind children and adults in the country, but most of us go a lifetime without actually knowing one of them.  It is still something we as a country are uncomfortable with and pity.  When you think of Helen Keller do you think "inspirational speaker" or "sad situation"?   Do you see someone with a white cane and think "what a shame.  Glad I am not them" or do you think "there is someone I wish I could get to know".  We, as a society - myself included - need to change our ideas of what it REALLY means to be blind.  Because I can promise you - you can talk to just about any blind aduilt - or child for that matter - and they are not going to be feeling sorry for themselves.  They will tell you about their amazing lives, their families, their husbands, wives, kids.  They will tell you about their travel (one person traveled to Japan!  Alone!!).  They will tell you about their jobs (MIT!  World Trade Center! Teacher!  Scientist!).  They will tell you about their hobbies (triathelete!  famous chef! baseball! Climbed Mount Everest!).  You.Will.Be.Amazed.
(this is the ribbon color that represent blindness awareness)
I have heard the stories.  I have found that people who are blind lead more interesting and more active lives that the average person.  There are 100's of books out there are people who are blind who grew up to do amazing, book publishing things.  Can you say that about you?

Use this as an opportunity to do something you would never do.  Take yourself out of your comfort zone and take a leap.  What is stopping you?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Dear Pletcher family, this post is very heartfelt for me! There is one thing I know for certain:
I believe God will set forth his blessed plan for Finley. Also, I may not truly understand how it feels to know that your child is loosing her sight. I has to be very difficult...almost the same feeling as loosing a loved one? I am not sure. I pray that things will get better all the time. Your Daughter from what I can ''see'' is a very sweet, loving, and such a pretty girl. I wish you the best for October 2013!