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Life after Vision Loss: My Life before and after I Met the NFB
by Sybil Irvin
From the Editor: The following article first appeared in the Fall/Winter 2001 issue of the NFBC Journal, a publication of the National Federation of the Blind of California. Sybil Irvin has served as chapter president and is now president of the California Chapter on Aging. She is deeply involved in working with seniors losing their sight, and her positive attitude and zest for life are surely an inspiration to those with whom she works. This is what she says:
In 1994 I met a lady who had attended a convention of the National Federation of the Blind. She had been very impressed by that convention. She said that a group wanted to start a chapter in my area and wanted to know if I would be interested.
At about that time my husband's health was failing, so I was exhausted taking care of him. After his death my sight failed even more, so I had more than my share of changes with which to deal. It really took me time to sit back and regroup and decide what I wanted to do with my life, if anything. At that time, like many others, I did not know anything positive about blindness.
Finally I called that lady. I went to a chapter meeting and met a bunch of active, happy blind people. I was very impressed with what I saw and with what the members were doing.
Shortly after I attended that meeting, there was to be a state convention. I decided to attend. At the convention I learned a lot about the organization. I was really impressed, so I went home and became very active in my local chapter. The more active I became, the more active I wanted to be. Since then I have attended every state and national convention. I have even gone to state conventions in Arizona and New Mexico.
Before I found the Federation, I thought a lifesaver was a round candy with a hole in the middle. But when I found the NFB, I really found my lifesaver.
Just a couple of months ago, I chaired the California state convention host committee. Many people told me that they were very pleased with the convention. As you see, the more work I do with the NFB, the more hooked I become. I cannot imagine anyone who is blind or visually impaired not wanting to be a part of this organization. The philosophy is sound; I know because I live it every day. The NFB has made life much better for all blind people, and the friendship and interest the members show one another are really wonderful.
As you can see from the above paragraphs, my life is more meaningful now than I could ever have dreamed. Just a few years back, I could not imagine being so happy being blind, but with the great members around the country, I look forward to getting up every morning so that I can assist more seniors who are losing their sight to find true meaning and excellent assistance in their adjustment to blindness.
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