Now being a diabetic from such a young age there was two classifications of a type 1 diabetic first it was called simply called juvenile diabetes where the other was called brittle diabetes, for me they're really never was control everything even growing and inch stress not enough sleep everything kept my blood sugar dangerously high so of course I was in and out of hospitals constantly, by the time I was 7 I had already lost almost complete use of my left eye from the optic stroke. because of how young I was I adapted very quickly I was even able to have a drivers license though it was extremely restrictive.
Now we move forward to 3 1/2 years ago, as usual I was having extremely high blood sugars only this time it was 979 I became unresponsive next thing I knew it was 3 days later. That's when everything changed all I could see is what they call unusable light. I was blind and to be honest I wanted to die, immediately I was referred to The Chicago lighthouse for the blind that's where I met Dr. Wallach he literally saved my life then I was referred to Illinois department of rehabilitation Blind Services, I was sent to a state school for the blind in Chicago only with changes that are politicians forced on us unless you were immediately going to work/college there was no help I was there just long enough to be trained in mobility, doing household chores cooking, managing money and technology.
before all this happened I did have to stop working because of severe physical disabilities and chronic pain but I am not someone that can sit and do nothing so I started volunteering my time to help homeless Women I started Chicago's only chronic pain support group working with the American Chronic Pain Association and now the foundation for Peripheral neuropathy foundation., I was even a hospital volunteering helping with support groups on the psychiatric ward and worked with a what they call a Mix Team a Mobile integrated crisis team where we met with clients out in the field their homes if they were homeless wherever they were at these are people with severe mental illness and physical problems all his volunteer work is actually What stop me from ending my life which was always my plan that if I lost my eyesight that that would be it only if there's too many people counting on me one of the groups I ran a young homeless girl after Group hugged me saying thank you how can I let them down now back to the state school for the blind they were originally supposed to provide equipment needed now these are things somebody Blind really can't live daily life without only our wonderful politicians in Chicago and Springfield took that help away.
That's where this page comes in being on SSDI having access to equipment and programs I need is beyond my reach and there's no help for instants the cane I use that I cannot get around without it's a special cane designed for someone with severe nerve damage and chronic pain in her hands it's made of graphite the problem when it starts to wear when it starts getting small cracks at any moment it can shatter completely if that happens while I'm out I really don't know what I would do. Even the special sunglasses I have to wear because of extreme sensitivity to light there's no help or discount and they are very expensive insurance will not pay for it and there's no organization that can provide it. Now one thing that makes it possible for me to use computers is called a screen reader only most of them do not work properly I was supposed to get one from the state of Illinois but of course they backed out and that also. it's a program called Jaws there's no screen reader available better than this one only even the student version is $800 well beyond the reach of someone on disability even the trial version will only work for 45 minutes and then it actually shuts your computer down.
These devices are the things I desperately need, my volunteer work is dependent on it.
What keeps me volunteering is when people see me they see what it takes for me to get around they see what it takes for me to walk and you guys will see pictures/video of the braces for my legs.
People tell me I inspire them, I would never ask for help like this but I can't let the women I volunteer for down. Something else for each piece of equipment I'm able to get I will post the receipt and video of me using the device.
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