Despite Blindness, John S. Inspires Others to Stay Optimistic
Six years ago, John S. developed macular degeneration, a disease that eventually rendered him legally blind. No longer could he drive a truck for his employer. Even the house he lived in was not a viable option. He needed guidance in this new chapter of his life.
In November 2016, John turned to Federation. With the support of two social workers and a case manager, he settled into a new residence. Today, at age 53, he lives in an apartment with a roommate, has an active social life, and is learning to read Braille.
“He is so motivated, and this inspires the people around him,” said Samantha Mero, Community Health Worker. As John’s case manager, Mero has come to see how his enthusiasm affects others.
Mero said that John has also encouraged his housemate to become more independent as well. John sets a good example around the apartment. Though his sight is severely limited, he can see shadows and contrasts and is able to clean surfaces in the bathroom and kitchen.
John has also won the respect of the Support Group for the Sight Impaired that he belongs to and attends every Monday. He was selected by his peers to be the group’s president this past January.
Between his support group and learning Braille, John stays busy. He uses his phone to send text messages and can schedule his own appointments. He has begun typing on a regular desktop computer and is now typing 25 words per minute.
Mero recalled that John had his share of down days when he first came to Federation. “It was a big adjustment, moving to an apartment with a roommate,” she said. “But John is very smart, full of positive energy, and inspires everyone around him.”
Given John’s positive attitude, it’s not surprising that his social support system is extensive. His two brothers, friends, and an older couple who are like parents to him, are active in his life.