Main Menu

We Change Lives

“It was kind of like being pushed out of the nest” Patti found a way to fly after her vision loss

Losing vision as you age is a blow that’s hard to recover from—especially when you experience the loss of your independence.  In my own case, I had to be pushed at first—kind of like a bird being thrown out of the nest.  I decided to learn about vision resources, get involved in new activities, connect with different people, and help others.  You can make your life what you want it to be. It all started when Patti Ligman, a young mother, lost the central and peripheral...
Read More

Get off that couch and enjoy the day with your white cane!

As National White Cane Safety Day approaches, I think back about 13 years. I was handed my first cane in downtown Madison, Wisconsin.  Met some folks on the corner of Lake and State Street--a busy shopping and entertainment area in the heart of UW- Madison. I thought it was strange that we would walk up this very busy street, with myself getting acclimated to using a cane for the first time. Challenging? Yes. Difficult? A little bit. Scary? Have to say yes. After this initial...
Read More

Council scholarship supports Kelsi's dreams

Kelsi Watters of Cameron, Wisconsin was delighted when she received a Council scholarship in 2012.  She knew this financial support would help her pursue her goal to become a religious counselor.  Now, a second semester freshman at Saint Mary’s University in Winona, Minnesota, Kelsi is on her way.  She’s taking five classes, working on campus and participating in several extracurricular activities. “As I was growing up, attending college was always a given.  I liked...
Read More

“Now, I see with my hands”

Matt Brandt of Darlington, Wisconsin, was 40 years old when his vision really started to diminish.  He was diagnosed with Diabetic Retinopathy—a result of having Diabetes.  “I did well for a few years.  I could still drive and walk around places, but I got to a point where my vision diminished so much that I could no longer drive, and I couldn’t read road signs clearly.” Matt eventually lost all his vision but not his desire to remain active and travel safely. ...
Read More

Marjean moves confidently with her white cane

In an ironic turn of events, Marjean Kuschel ended up needing to use the very orientation and mobility (O&M) skills she was studying as part of the curriculum for being an O&M instructor.  Now, these strategies help her travel with confidence and in safety to places like New York City, Chicago, Oregon, Florida, Hawaii (a place on her Bucket List) and Alaska.  Marjean decided to change majors, but not because of her vision loss.  As a white cane user, she drew from what...
Read More

Dora demonstrates that you’re never too old to learn!

At first glance, you would never know that Dora is 101 years old.  Her smile is bright; her gestures are full of energy and enthusiasm; and her eyes light up when you engage her in conversation—especially when the topic is her trusty iPad.  A gift from family members Maryann and Tom, the iPad has made it possible for Dora to continue to enjoy some pastimes that are precious to her-- reading the Bible daily and staying connected with the world through theWisconsin State...
Read More

Grappling with glaucoma: Calvin found hope and healing in spite of his vision loss

What first seemed like early morning, “I’m not quite awake” vision blurriness turned out to be glaucoma for Calvin.  He reached up to scratch his right eye and realized that he had no vision in his left.  “I thought it was a fluke, and that it would go away,” he reflected.  But, it didn’t.  A trip to the emergency room resulted in the diagnosis of glaucoma in both eyes.  Calvin’s slightly-stronger right eye had merely compensated for his left for a...
Read More

A Life of Giving

Vicky has been volunteering since she was a teenager in Atlanta, Georgia. She began by teaching vacation Bible school as part of her church’s mission to the cotton mill slums of Atlanta.  Over time, she donated her stamping skills and created greeting cards that were sent to church members who were ill.  Later, as a volunteer for the Literacy Network, Vicky taught a 70-year-old woman how to read. When she drove to downtown Madison for events and appointments, Vicky would often...
Read More

Making beautiful music in spite of vision loss

Ros of Portage has always loved music.  It’s no surprise that she was a member of her high school’s marching band.  What was a surprise was when the band director asked why she kept moving in a different direction from the rest of the group when they were in formation.  Little did she know that several years later, she would be diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, commonly called “RP”.  She was already losing some of her peripheral vision while a...
Read More

“People need to be educated about folks with white canes"

Glaucoma, “the sneak thief of sight” took the vision in Tom Peralta’s right eye about seven years ago.  “I went to bed one night with vision in that eye and the next morning, it was gone.”  More recently, he lost most of the vision in his left eye.  After many doctor visits and tests, medical professionals don’t know exactly what caused this, but they suggested that it might be due to a series of strokes Tom suffered.  “My depth perception was not good, so I...
Read More

Your kindness has been like a beacon of hope and help: Marion’s story

Marion Hintz and her husband live in Milwaukee. Both have had their share of health concerns. After receiving a white cane from us, she wrote this letter of thanks: My heartfelt thanks for my new support cane.  Recently, I experienced a stroke in my left eye.  Shortly after that, I had an implant to relieve pressure in what was my former “good” eye.  I now have no vision in that eye, and my right eye has severe macular degeneration.  In the midst of that, my husband...
Read More

Making Marcie’s life as independent as possible: Family members find resources and referrals at the Council

Marcie Kennedy is 94-years-old.  She has sustained several falls within the last year.  She has a bad knee; her hearing has diminished, and she has been living with macular degeneration for at least 20 years.  Despite these challenges, Marcie lived independently in senior apartments until very recently.  Daughter Ruth Kocvara and daughter-in-law Karen Kennedy attribute this amazing fact in large part to the products and referrals Marcie has received from the Council. Ruth...
Read More