Couple shares fondness for Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired Allegan Support Group
Marcia and Victor Marques are a loving, compassionate couple. They bond over their interests and love for each other, their careers, and overcoming, with elegance and wisdom, various challenges in life – namely, their respective visual impairments.
Marcia was born and raised in Michigan. She was first diagnosed with blindness at the age of two, after a case of the chicken pox lead to the discovery of her having Retinoblastoma, a rare form of eye cancer in children. After radiation treatment, Marcia eventually had to have both eyes removed to prevent further complications.
Victor, now living in Michigan with Marcia, is originally from Vancouver. Though Victor had always been diagnosed as “low vision,” he was still able to navigate independently without much assistance. He did not fully lose his eye sight until 2010, when a sudden and quickly progressing onset of symptoms from Leber Congenital Amaurosis worsened his eyesight to almost complete blindness.
Married since 2016, Victor and Marcia and each of their guide dogs live in Kalamazoo while working at Renewed Hope Health Clinic in Allegan. Though their commute to Allegan from home is a bit of a trek, Marcia and Victor make sure to always attend the Associaton for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ABVI) support group in Allegan as well.
“We would really like to see people who are… maybe reluctant to attending or trying new things come and learn about the group and have a place to kind of share their low vision experiences,” said Marcia.
Marcia, having been a member of this support group since its beginning in 2004, now attends with Victor by her side, as they both share their stories, experiences, commentary, and wisdom with the other group members.
“I see it as a bit of an opportunity to share and I like to share what I know with other people,’ Victor said. “I’m fairly proficient with technology, and I’m actually going into a teaching field, so I find the experience valuable to just be around people and share and help them if they need some direction.”
Marcia and Victor both have amazing stories and insights, and ABVI’s support group is the perfect outlet for them to share them with others. They encourage anyone who is curious about the group or curious about sharing their own vision loss experience to come and learn more.
“We hope our story can influence somebody to get out there and try and use the support of the vision support group, and we’re happy to be there sharing with people and encouraging them,” said Victor.
“Or even, crying with them when they’re crying, or laughing with them when they’re laughing,” Marcia added.
For additional information on the Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired please contact Linda Zizos at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I was born completely blind and spent my first three years of grade school in a classroom with only blind children. The advantage of this was that I never felt out of place because I was exposed to children like myself from the start.
Joyce spent too many years struggling with declining vision due to macular degeneration and a detached retina. While a local eye care professional was able to help her with retinal surgery, her vision continued to get worse. She couldn’t read with a smaller, yet high-powered lighted magnifier. And she couldn’t see family pictures well enough make out faces.
Bill lost sight in his left eye at the age of 9, from a tragic accident. The tip of a fishing pole hit the eye. Then in high school, a baseball team member threw a ball it errantly hit Bill’s right eye. He was left with 15% useful sight in that eye.
These two incidents would change any person’s view of their future. After all, college baseball coaches were watching Bill’s pitching with the potential for a scholarship. That would never happen now. And it was especially painful because his parents didn’t have the financial means to pay for his future education. It would have been easy for Bill to decide that life didn’t have much to offer. But he wasn’t going to let these challenges dictate his future.
In his 20’s, Doug was losing vision…and he didn’t know what was causing it. He wasn’t aware that he had Retinitis Pigmentosa, because no one in his family knew what it was at that time.
When her daughter, Kathy, learned about Pauline’s diagnosis, their family had a meeting to discuss how they could help their mother. As Kathy explained, “It broke my heart when I learned my mother couldn’t read”
Overcoming the obstacles of vision loss.
For the past forty years I have been legally blind. As a young adult I was diagnosed with Stargardt disease, which is the most common form of inherited juvenile macular degeneration. Stargardt disease causes blind spots in the central retina which makes focusing difficult.
Peter’s philosophy is to be active. His favorite quote is “if life gives you a lemon, make lemonade”. He puts those words into action, defying his vision challenge.
In 1992, Denise found herself struggling with significant vision loss, diagnosed with Hereditary Optic Neuropathy.
Roxy found herself struggling to read her mail, books and manage her bills. Glaucoma and Wet Macular Degeneration had severely damaged her vision. She followed her doctor’s advice and came to ABVI for help.
I have been a long-time client of the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, participating in the “STEPS” (Successful Teens Exploring Positive Skills) program as well as “Summer in the City”. Through these experiences, I learned numerous and crucial skills to be independent both in my home and out on the streets.
33 years of dedicated service would provide any teacher with wonderful memories and special accomplishments with students and their families. And certainly, Ed has many. Unfortunately, his teaching position came to a sudden conclusion well before he intended.
Ruth Ann exemplifies a “can do” spirit. With technology devices prescribed by ABVI’s doctor, and in-home Vision Rehabilitation from our professional team, she continues to live a full life.
When your entire life has been focused on a dream, of working to help make technology more accessible for blind and visually impaired individuals, this is simply a statement of passion.
I was referred to the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, by my Retinal specialist, in July 2016. Their caring professionals and staff made me feel comfortable with my problem, and helped me with vision enhancement devices. I’m now able to read my New York Times again!
December 17, 2014 was Ted’s last day of work. There was no retirement party with his co-workers. He didn’t even clean out his desk. It was just like every other day coming home to his wife, Michele, to enjoy his evening with her, his grandchildren and the family pets.