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A Lil’ Inspiration #8

The Profound in Simplicity

Quoted text is white against a transparent teal background overlaid on a black and white photo of trees in the fog with a solitary woman walking among the trees.A little more than a week ago I posted a quote by one of my friends and Woman on the Move, Susan Rodgers. Today’s quote is by her twin sister Sherri.

Sherri and Susan were born with Usher Syndrome, an inherited disorder characterized by hearing impairment and progressive vision loss. Prior to meeting Sherri and Susan I never met anyone with Usher Syndrome however that didn’t prevent us from becoming quick friends.

Together and for several years in a row, the sisters would walk with me and my team to raise money for the Foundation Fighting Blindness. Together we would advocate on behalf of those with sight loss through our membership in the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind.  Together the sisters gave me encouragement during my low points as I journeyed into sight loss. They are the reason I began using my white cane.

Sherri makes a simple yet profound statement on living with Usher Syndrome:

“I’ve been a member of the Western PA Association for the Deaf/Blind (WPADB) for at least 15 years, being a part of the group I knew a few people but had to talk to them through an Interpreter. If you’ve never had this experience it can be quite challenging.” ~Sherri Rodgers (Sherri and Susan are lifetime advocates who continue to work and live very fulfilling lives).

Image: Quoted text is white against a transparent teal background overlaid on a black and white photo of trees in the fog with a solitary woman walking among the trees.

 

 

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WOTM 3 | Featuring Susan and Sherri Rodgers

WOTM 3 Featured Image description is in the body of the post.

WOTM 3 Featuring Susan & Sherri Rodgers

“I was born profoundly deaf with a double hare lip & cleft palate. When I was 3 years old, I attended DePaul Institute where I learned how to talk & lip-read.” ~Susan Rodgers

Women On The Move x2

For as far back as I can remember I have always been fascinated by identical twins. I imagined it would be so cool to trick parents, teachers, and friends with shenanigans by trading places. Throughout my life, I’ve befriended several sets of twins and I also appreciated the differences among each set. Enter Susan and Sherri Rodgers two of the most remarkably fierce ladies I’ve had the pleasure to call my friends.

When facing a new situation do you ever get that stomach-churning feeling that triggers the flight or fight response? That’s how I felt in 2011 when I attended my first local Council of the Blind meeting here in Pittsburgh. I wasn’t sure what to expect and thought maybe this wasn’t one of my best ideas. Even so, I ventured forward into the unknown. Of course, my fears were unfounded and I was thrilled to meet the remarkable Rodger sisters.

Susan and Sherri both have a hereditary condition known as Usher Syndrome. Usher syndrome is a double whammy and is described as “the most common condition that affects both hearing and vision.”One would think a person who is sight and hearing impaired would have great difficulty navigating in a sighted world. However, after meeting Susan and Sherri, both of whom are very active members of the community, one’s thinking would change.

“I’ve been a member of the Western PA Association for the Deaf/Blind (WPADB) for at least 15 years, being a part of the group I knew a few people but had to talk to them through an Interpreter. If you’ve never had this experience it can be quite challenging.” ~Sherri Rodgers

Being visually impaired myself, one of the main issues associated with sight loss is the general lack of access to information. With the advances in technology, access to information has greatly improved but there is still room for improvement. Take for example Sherri’s experience of talking through an interpreter to some of her deaf/blind friends. Or Susan at 3 years of age learning to talk and lip-read; these services and skills are critical to communication.

If not for social services, assistive technology, and mobility devices, people who are blind, deaf or deaf/blind would live life in a vacuum. For example, when a sighted person is suddenly unable to see faces or interpret body language, this becomes a barrier. Without the visual cues of body language, this can hamper how we communicate with one another. So imagine what it must be like for a person lacking two of their major senses. The idea here is not to invoke pity but awareness.

Susan and Sherri did not let Usher Syndrome stop them from living a fulfilled life. Both of them got an education, work, and actively advocate on behalf of blind, visually impaired and, deaf/blind people. They are extremely computer savvy supporters of the disability community.

Susan and Sherri’s Community Activities

The sisters serve in different capacities in the above organizations and if that weren’t enough, each of them, are employed. Susan and Sherri, are powerhouses who work to eliminate obstacles in their day-to-day living.

This post is not intended to minimize the challenges Susan and Sherri face in their lives. Rather it is to honor them as fierce bold blind beauties. I cannot imagine what it would be like to walk a day in the sister’s shoes. However, I can tell you that to walk along-side them is, in a word, amazing!

WOTM 3 Featured Image Description:

Sherri Rodgers & Friend Bill Newland

1 For additional information on Usher Syndrome visit www.ushersyndrome.nih.gov