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When Bloggers Meet

From Peers to Friends

Amy & Me posing for Judy to take our picture.
Amy & Steph

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of meeting in person for the first time, my multi-lingual friend, peer adviser, author, speaker, blogger, world traveler, and now winner of the Literature Medal of Merit award for her memoir, Amy Bovaird. I originally met Amy virtually a couple of years ago as a fellow peer adviser for VisionAware. Shortly thereafter she asked me to be a beta readers for her first book, Mobility Matters: Stepping Out in Faith.

Not only was I delighted to read Amy’s book, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect because I’d decided to go through a more intense Orientation and Mobility Training to improve my technique with the white cane. Since her book grappled with personal issues relating to the denial and emotional aspects of her vision loss it spoke to me on a deep level and validated many of my feelings.

So when I received the Facebook message that she would be coming to Pittsburgh in a few days for eye tests I was thrilled to have the opportunity to see her. I knew the hospital where we were meeting was going to be big but I severely underestimated just how big. I almost sobbed (well, not quite cause I woulda ruined my makeup) with relief because out of nowhere a hospital volunteer appeared to ask me if I required a sighted guide, a request that I gladly accepted.

“People fear being treated differently or looked down upon. They might feel more vulnerable or unsafe in public, as if, by using a cane, they broadcast their weakness and invite danger.” ~Amy Bovaird, Author | Mobility Matters Stepping Out In Faith (Image: Quoted text is white against a transparent gray overlay superimposed on a field tulips of red, purple, pink and a solitary yellow ).I have to admit that as the volunteer and I navigated the long hallways I was intimidated by the amount of fuzzy blurs (people) and just how much I couldn’t see. In retrospect I’m thinking I probably need to adjust getting out more to acclimate to crowds but I digress.

Upon our arrival at the eye center, the receptionist guided me to where Amy and her friend Judy sat. After brief introductions we hugged and it took next to no time for Amy to be taken for her tests while Judy and I waited. Afterward we grabbed some lunch and caught up with one another.

I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to talk with Amy about the recent publication of the audio version on her book and her latest project scheduled to be complete in April. She writes everyday, maintains her blog (Amy’s Adventures), does speaking engagements and encourages others who are experiencing vision loss.

People fear being treated differently or looked down upon. They might feel more vulnerable or unsafe in public, as if, by using a cane, they broadcast their weakness and invite danger. ~Amy Bovaird, Author | Mobility Matters Stepping Out In Faith

Amy, who has Usher Syndrome, a condition characterized by hearing loss or deafness and progressive vision loss was told at 28 she would lose her vision to Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) a genetic condition that causes retinal degeneration then blindness. This was devastating news to a person whose job took them overseas to teach. Even so, Amy went on to travel to a number of countries including Colombia, Indonesia, Japan and Egypt. It wasn’t until later that she found out that her RP diagnosis was in fact only part of the larger diagnosis of Usher Syndrome.

In view of Amy’s accomplishments it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that she would be honored as one Ohio Valley University’s outstanding alumni on her published book. I’m just glad that I had the chance to sit with this beautiful soft-spoken woman who I got to know a little bit better.

 

37 thoughts on “When Bloggers Meet

  1. Love this!! Great post!!
    http://dolvella.com

    1. Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed it!!

  2. So happy to hear you guys met and had a lovely time together. Lunch sounded nice.
    🙂

    1. It was wonderful, Kerry. If only I didn’t let my passport expire I could come to Canada.

      1. Same here. I must renew mine so I can travel again. My brother and I discussed just yesterday going to Chicago or Alabama.

  3. What a lovely experience Steph! Some connections here in the blogsphere do develop into friendships, and Amy sounds like a phenomenal woman.

    1. It was Khaya and meeting up with her re-energized me.

  4. She sounds like an inspirational figure. It must have been great meeting her in person again. Incidentally, I know how difficult it can be to navigate around large hospitals. They can be like great labyrinths in which every corridor is much the same as every other. I always seem to get lost in them.

  5. Hi Stephanae, thank you so much for visiting my blog and for following me. You are doing me an honour. Thank you for sharing this. You were brave to venture out to see Amy in unfamiliar surroundings – bouquets to you. Needless to say, I will be following you. 💐

    1. My pleasure Wendy. I’ve been having a ball doing the blog circuit and meeting new people. It’s literally opened up my world. Thank you for coming by here and following <3

  6. That is very cool that you two were able to meet up!

    1. Hi Jason, thank you for stopping by. Yes, it was so great to talk with Amy face to face. I felt like I knew already from reading her book but meeting her in person was almost surreal.

      1. That just shows what a great writer she is! Really cool stuff! 🙂

      2. Yes, she is. How are things going with the new site?

      3. They are going! Working hard at getting things running. Thanks for asking! 🙂

      4. You’re welcome. Well you’re a real powerhouse and I’m taking note so that if/when I make the move I can know what I’m doing.

      5. If you have any questions let me know. 🙂

      6. I certainly will.

  7. That’s so lovely and what a wonderful experience.

    1. It was so exciting being able to talk face to face. She only lives a few hours away but when sight impaired we rely on others to get from point A to B. If not for this one little minor kink we would have met ages ago I’m sure.

  8. What an inspiration for you! For us all!

    1. Thank you Robyn!!

  9. What a grand adventure with your friend. She sounds like a powerhouse —just like you!

    1. Awe thank you Lori 😀 <3

  10. Steph, sounds like a wonderful visit between two women serving as inspirations to all regardless of our individual circumstances and challenges. It is through the retelling of these real-life, real-world experiences that creates awareness and changes perception…which in turn inspires passion and action.

    1. Thank you as always for your kind comments Bruce. The retelling of real life experiences helps all of us to become more aware and I hope more compassionate as well. I’ve never learned so much about many issues faced by others than when I started blogging. It’s opened my eyes and certainly expanded my world and hopefully I can become a better person for what I’m being exposed to.

  11. Beautiful! So glad you were able to connect!

  12. Thank you for continually inspiring me with your posts!

    Blessings,
    Theresa

    1. You’re welcome Theresa! I’m glad to know that you draw some inspiration by visiting me as I do you. Have a very nice weekend!

  13. Thanks for sharing your experiences and allowing me and others to see the world through your eyes. I find your blogs informative and the need for more public awareness.

    1. Thank you so much for this comment. It means the world not only to me but to many others in this situation particularly when our vision is bad enough to impact day to day living yet we “look” like we can see. As many more of us come forward to talk about blindness and vision loss I’m hopeful that we can get past many of the stigmas associated with the loss of sight.

      1. Thanks for being one of those pioneers willing to share

      2. Thank you for reading. 😀

  14. Wonderful, inspiring post! I’m so glad you got to meet. And, carry your mighty cane, Abigail as the sword of a warrior!

    1. Hey Laurel, I read one of your posts yesterday or the day before from my phone but when I went to “like” it I was taken to the WordPress login screen – ugh. It was about Loser forgetting things that mattered.

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