by Joy Loverde
Martha developed Retinitis pigmentosa in her early 40’s. Mary has been blind since birth. And when it comes to these two women NOTHING has ever gotten in their way when it comes to working, cooking, cleaning the house, getting around, making friends, dating, and volunteering. You name it, they do it – just like you and me.
Martha and Mary’s courage to do what it takes to live full out in a sightless world is awesome, and watching them in action is a constant reminder of their willingness to stay current on products and services in order to succeed in life. On top of that, Mary and Martha also have no difficulty whatsoever asking others for help. They both have zillions of friends who are there for them at a drop of a hat. They developed the courage to ask for help early on… and today it is paying off big time.
Which leads me to tell you about a computer tool and a wonderful organization that can positively change the life of someone you know that is visually impaired - CDesk and Foundation Fighting Blindness.
CDesk is an easy-to-use all inclusive software/hardware solution for older adults who are visually impaired. Randyce Wechter, president of Adaptive Voice, developed CDesk as a result of being blind for five years. After regaining sight in one eye, she was determined to create a product that allowed sightless people the ability to remain fully functioning on the computer.
With CDesk, anyone who is visually impaired can create word documents (with built-in spell checker), manage contacts, access email and convert HTML to TEXT, translate languages, open attachments, browse the Internet, scan documents, create spreadsheets, access calendars and make appointments, play games, and SKYPE. Undoubtedly, Randyce has demonstrated a true understanding of the challenges faced by the visually impaired, and she has paid attention to the smallest details which is what makes CDesk a useful program.
You may also have an interest in learning more about Foundation Fighting Blindness. Since its founding in 1971, the Foundation Fighting Blindness organization has been dedicated to funding innovative research to find preventions, treatments, and cures for inherited retinal degenerative diseases that lead to blindness and affect more than 10 million people in the United States.
Retinitis pigmentosa and Usher syndrome are inherited diseases commonly diagnosed during childhood or young adulthood. RP causes severe vision loss leading to legal and/or complete blindness. Children with Usher syndrome are born with varying degrees of deafness and later develop RP.
Age-related macular degeneration has inherited risks and is characterized by a progressive loss of central vision. AMD is the leading cause of blindness in adults over age 55 in the U.S. and other developed countries.
The Foundation provides information and outreach programs for patients, families and professionals. To date, the Foundation has raised more than $425 million. The more we know about retinal degenerative diseases, the better we can find cures to stop it.
FOUNDATION FIGHTING BLINDNESS
7168 Columbia Gateway Drive, Suite 100
Columbia, MD 21046