No one knows what might happen in the future. Our lives can change in an instant. And no one knows this better than Margie Boersma of Holland, Michigan.
On June 8, 2017, Margie lost her balance at the top of her stairs. She fell to the bottom and suffered several traumatic injuries. She had no memory until July 22 of that year.
When Margie understood the extent of her injuries, she knew she had lost her sight. She went home from Mary Free Bed on August 11, 2017, and she and her husband Tim looked for help.
Margie found the Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired (ABVI) on the internet. “I didn’t know what to expect,” she admitted. “ABVI came to our house. They were great, and brought different kinds of devices to try.”
ABVI set Margie up with a free audio book subscription and audio book reader. She listened to “No Barriers,” by Erik Weihenmayer, a blind man who kayaked the Grand Canyon and was also the first blind man to climb to the top of Mt. Everest. It was inspiring.
Margie told herself, “OK. You need to get used this. You can’t see. What are you going to do with yourself? Attitude is everything!” Tim was very supportive.
As a long time traveler, Margie felt Braille would be a very good skill to have. “I wanted to learn enough to know which elevator button to push, or to find my hotel room among other things,” she said. She called ABVI once more.
Margie said, “Rachel (certified vision rehabilitation therapist) was eager to help and scheduled a home visit right away.”
Margie and Rachel have regular sessions together during which Rachel helps her understand the braille code. “Rachel is absolutely wonderful! She helped me gain reference by telling me how to think of the code,” Margie said.
Margie and Tim recently went skiing at Challenge Mountain in Boyne Falls, MI, a resort that caters to those with low vision or blindness, and others who are differently abled. “We loved it, she said.”
Margie is also traveling to Rochester, MI, to train with and receive a leader dog.
An avid kayaker for many years, she said, “Tim and I are going to try tandem kayaking this summer.” Her greatest advice for those diagnosed with low vision or blindness? “Don’t sit in a chair. Learn how to live your life!” She is walking the talk.