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A Bridge to Independence & Opportunity

A Bridge to Independence & Opportunity image description is in the body of the post.

When we share our stories we go beyond giving hope—we offer confirmation and affirmation that life is not over because of sight loss. Shoulder to shoulder we stand, a network offering a human bridge to carry others through their sight loss.   

Sue Lichtenfels, President, PA Council of the Blind

A Bridge to Independence & Opportunity

Thursday evening was the opening session of the 82nd Annual Conference of the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind (PCB). I was so excited for this year’s 4-day event because it was hosted in my hometown of Pittsburgh. What this meant was I could easily travel to and from the hotel each day. Adding to my excitement was the anticipation of reconnecting with friends from across the state and meeting new people.

Sue Lichtenfels, President of PCB, opened the conference with a powerful and heartfelt message on transition. Our new tagline “PCB, A Peer Network for All Impacted by Vision Loss” extends beyond the organization. The new message is an outreach to include family, friends, caregivers, and professionals in the field.

Hope Lost Then Restored

As I listened to Sue speak I thought of my transition from living with sight to learning how to live without it. Like a flame of hope shriveling and dying, back then it seemed everything in my life relied on my eyesight. I couldn’t see past the dark days that threatened to consume me.

Crossing the bridge to grab hold of my new life without sight by becoming involved with PCB saved my life. I met and befriended so many positive, passionate people who were living their purpose and it’s because of them my view of the world has changed. Even when life doesn’t go as planned I’m more appreciative of the beauty surrounding me.

This year, I was excited to once again be a part of an organization working to improve the lives of those who live with blindness. Even though I got sick, and could only attend a portion of the event, I represented Bold Blind Beauty. It was here where I shared the importance of how we as blind people can live fulfilling and productive lives while eradicating misconceptions around blindness and sight loss.

Like our stylish fashion icon Abby, being confident and radiating a positive attitude of empowerment despite our blindness enables us to navigate the world with our white canes or guide dogs and our heads held high. Being Bold, Blind, and Beautiful is less about how we look and more about who we are. When we are beautiful on the inside it shines forth on the outside.

Featured Image Description:

A wooden bridge from the perspective of someone walking on it. At the end of the bridge is Autumn foliage. The sky appears to be clearing as the sun peeps between a mixture of dark and white clouds.

Additional Images:

  • BBB Gift Basket – contained donated BBB Abby branded items. Ball cap, tee-shirt, coffee mug, Abby cookies, and tote bag.
  • Abby Cookies – Oval shaped cookies with the Abby icon stamped in the center. The icing is BBB’s brand colors white and teal.
  • BBB Coffee Mugs & Tabletop Sign – Assorted Abby branded coffee mugs and a sign with Abby on it.
  • BBB Wristbands – Teal and white braille and text BBB wristbands.

10 thoughts on “A Bridge to Independence & Opportunity

  1. Long term use of steroids (especially if as I have had to for my blood problem had to have very high doses with a slow taper off and because I’m waiting to have an operation the blood doctor doesn’t want to stop them yet) can block the absorption of calcium so can cause problems similar to osteoporosis. When I cough or sneeze my ribs or back can “pop” and I also need to be careful when I stretch. Back around Easter I coughed and my back popped and since the pain was still continuing I had to have an mri to make sure there was no disc or other damage. I now try to be sitting with my back supported when I cough or sneeze. However I haven’t found a way to stop the rib “pops” and have just got used to feeling like I’m recovering from a bout with Mohammed Ali.
    Monday I will find out if the operation will go ahead as I have an appointment with that department.

    1. I knew long term use of steroids could cause serious issues but what you’re going through sounds awful. I’ve only had to take them for my asthma and uveitis. I hope everything works out well for you and hope you have a speedy recovery.

  2. Very nice words Steph. You may have temporarily lost your speaking voice, but your words continue to resonate with all of us. And please FedEx those cool Abigale cookies to Milwaukee!

    1. Thanks Carla, Um about the cookies, I couldn’t help it but I found myself eating one after the other and bam! Just like that, they were gone!!!

  3. So sorry you got sick and missed part of it. Hope you are feeling better now. I love all our Abigale items…well done!

    1. Thanks Katelon. I feel a million times better today. Still working to get my voice back but wow what a difference a few days make.

  4. Hi. Love your blog as ever.
    Having a weird time just recently partly because I have 3 hospital appointments and a visit for blood tests while organising a home move (25 October to 9 November is the time frame) but also because on the appointment on 25 October the paperwork was done to register me blind just over seven months prior I was registered partially sighted even though I’d said I didn’t use my specs as they weren’t helpful enough to endure the headaches, nausea and dizziness they caused. However having this paperwork done has given me a little wobble. I know it’s illogical as I wanted it done but it feels a bit like another layer of grief.

    1. Hi Lynne, it’s so good to hear from you. I can relate to the grief you describe here. In my early days of sight loss it seemed there was grief with each stage that I moved through and sometimes it was so tough because I would think I was doing so well and then something would happen and I’d be consumed with grief. There was days when I thought I couldn’t possibly get through it and truth be told I still have days like this but they are fewer in number and intensity. It sounds like you’ve also got a lot going on in your life at the moment and hopefully once you get past this patch things will smooth out for you. I hope everything goes well with your hospital appointments and your upcoming move. If you ever want to talk you can reach me by email at smccoy@boldblindbeauty.com. Please take care and try to manage your stress levels. Steph

      1. Thankyou Steph. I have a lot of people helping with the move. Just back from today’s hospital appointment not sure if it’s good news or not but my back pain is just wear and tear not osteoporosis due to the long term steroids I’ve been on. During the day it is barely a problem as i control my posture but when I’m in bed the pain wakes me if i turn in my sleep. I got in touch with my counsellor and just need to find a time to get together with her.

      2. I’m so sorry to hear about your back issues. Back pain can be so debilitating especially when it’s waking you up. I wasn’t aware that steroids could cause an issue like what you’re experiencing. Glad to hear you have a lot of help with your move because that is such a huge cause of stress.

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