Post Title: 3 Ways I Give Back During Low Vision Month
The Journey to Advocacy
When I became an author sharing my story about Retinitis Pigmentosa and how Orientation and Mobility (O&M) training changed my outlook towards my sight loss, it threw me into another phase of my life. After keeping it mum for two decades, it felt strange to open up about my sight. But I had to share my story if I wanted to sell my book.
My first speaking engagements revolved around faith-based talks – sharing my story and how God enabled me to move forward. Soon, I received requests to speak to sight rehabilitation groups and Lions Clubs. I learned to hone my story, open up more about O&M and still share my positive outlook. Next came talks with senior centers in my area. I added sight tips and rehabilitation hacks to my talks. What I lacked in sales was overshadowed with the confidence I developed in my message and the encouragement my listeners seemed to gain.
To try a new avenue of outreach, I took on the occasional podcast. I have since done quite a few podcasts. Now I sometimes even give keynote addresses via Zoom to sight support groups! On my journey, I joined VisionAware, a sight loss resource now housed on the American Printing House for the blind (APH).I am one of more than twenty “peer advisors,” who use their experiences with sight loss to encourage others struggling with it. Looking back on my journey,
I am amazed at how God continued to draw opportunities to me to share a subject I wouldn’t share even with my friends. Yes, in six years I became an advocate!
Low Vision Month
February is Low Vision Month and RP Awareness Month, designed to educate and bring awareness to both these topics. I thought it would be good to share what I am doing to contribute to this cause.
First, in reaching out to connect and / or educate others about Retinitis Pigmentosa, I am offering my Hitting a HomeRun: Blind and Thriving mini-menoir as a GIFT when readers sign up to receive my blog posts. This mini-memoir (eBook) contains the personal story of my diagnosis and subsequent career choices. It’s a pre-quel to Mobility Matters and Cane Confessions. It gives readers a sampling of my writing, both my emotions and my gentle humor. If you have not subscribed to receive my blog posts, you can do so here.
Second, I am one of four participants in my first ever WEBINAR on coping with low vision. This is offered through VisionAware. The webinar will be a round table discussion focusing on living with low vision. Specifically, we will discuss topics such as coping strategies related to vision loss, vision rehab (or not), tips and tricks around the house and in the community or vision hacks, how we dealt with accepting our vision loss. There may be other topics but this is our starting point. If you are interested in attending this webinar, it will take place on Thursday, February 18, 2-3:30 EDT. Sign up here. It is FREE to the public.
Third, you can find me GUEST POSTING on three different blogs this month. First is Lyndi Alexander’s blog, which focuses on Flight and Fantasy Adventures. She offers her platform on Mondays to help authors get their books to new eyes.
Triple-E blog by Empish Thomas is the next blog. The purpose of the Triple E Blog is to Educate, Empower and Enlighten you with news, stories and info about the blind and visually impaired community using the author’s life as a focal point.
The last blog is Aimee Eddy’s inspirational blog on coping with Mental Health. Her mission is to share her personal story of how she was bullied all through school because of a learning disability. She wants to get the message out about how bullying van lead to anxiety, depression and even mental illness. Unfortunately, those with sight loss are also bullied, and becoming overwhelmed by sight loss can lead to depression, anxiety and worse, thoughts of suicide (I have read them in my support groups).
Additionally, I will share a story, article or link on my author page highlighting a resources, inspiring story or video on living with low vision each day this month on my Facebook Author Page.
Book Trailer to Mobility Matters Memoir
Click the link to order an autographed copy Regular or Large Print copy. It is also available in kindle or audiobook.