Deanne Jackson: From Despair to Hope

Deanne Jackson discusses the emotional "devastation" she experienced after receiving a diagnosis of macular degeneration, believing that her independent life was over. Deanne talks about the benefits of reaching out for help, including orientation and mobility training.

Deanne Jackson: From Despair to Hope Video

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NARRATOR: A red-haired woman at a shopping mall.

DEANNE: When I got home after I'd heard the news that I had wet macular in my left eye with 20/400 vision, it was like an overnight devastation. I thought my life was over. Because I am very independent and I take care of myself and my family.

NARRATOR: Pictures of Deanne and family members.

DEANNE: And I've been a caretaker for awhile with members of my family and I think, you know, what am I going to do and what are they going to do?

Denial, Then Helplessness

DEANNE: I drove... longer than I should have because I just couldn't believe it was happening. I couldn't even get across the street to a store. I couldn't drive down the street to a store. I couldn't read my newspaper. So I went into like a little bit of depression and just kind of sat there for months.

The First Step is the Hardest

DEANNE: It was very difficult. I know, and I'm not the only one, but it takes everything you have to make that first contact, that first phone call, that first conversation asking for help.

A New Perspective on Receiving Help

DEANNE: You give other people blessings, I've been told, by asking for help. I had a lady just recently sew a button on my dress for me. And I said, oh, you just don't know how much I appreciate this. And she said, you don't know what blessing you just gave me. They're all out there to help. I mean, they're just waiting to help. So all they have to do, the ones that need help, is just to make that first step and know that it's going to happen.

Learning to Use the Cane

NARRATOR: Deanne walking down the street using a cane.

DEANNE: It was like Christmas all over again, because I thought I knew there had to be something out there that would help me to be independent and back among the living. I can do it again.

Never Too Old

DEANNE: I'm learning braille. Never did I think a 65-year-old would have to learn another language, but I am. Because that's going to help me in the future. And guess what? My brain did wake up.

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