When it first happened, Brenda Walker didn’t tell anyone for over a month. She kept the news to herself after her doctor diagnosed her with retinal disorders, knowing that it would eventually cause her to lose her full sight and change her way of life forever.
Soon after, self-pity started to settle in. Brenda, once a warm, energetic, and outgoing personality, turned to seclusion. She quit her job. She stayed home. She was alone. Brenda’s turning point came one morning when as she looked in the mirror, not only could she no longer recognize who she had become but she could no longer see her reflection.
“I just wanted to go back to being Brenda.” Brenda remembers feeling she had hit her lowest point and with six grandchildren in her care relying on her, she knew she needed to find help. Then Brenda found a way to live without her vision thanks to United Way.
Brenda began attending classes at Savannah Center for the Blind and Low Vision, funded by United Way, and began living her life again. She learned ways to adapt to all of her favorite activities and continue attending her grandchildren’s outings. Brenda also received technology assistance through LIFE who provided her with a modified tablet and a reading device to use while in public settings. She has a special cell phone, can use the computer almost as easy as anyone else, but has most importantly gotten her sense of belonging back.
Traveling all around Savannah with multi-methods of transportation, Brenda and her grandkids do not miss a beat anymore. Brenda says, “they know that Nana is right there supporting them.” When they ask to go to a museum or have a baseball game, she has the confidence to navigate them there together.
Brenda is not taking life for granted, she says, “Now I am more than ‘Brenda’ ever was. I am elated.”
You can help more people like Brenda by giving to United Way and texting UWCE to 56512.