Cheryl Tice gardening

Cheryl Tice has traveled a long way on a very rough road. Her journey began one day as she was driving and suddenly couldn’t see out of her left eye — the diagnosis, glaucoma. Even when surgery proved unsuccessful, Cheryl still felt she could manage on her own. After all, she told herself, she still had vision in her right eye and was able to work.

Then her parents died. And next, she was diagnosed with cancer and underwent chemotherapy. Life was difficult, but she was still able to cope . . . until she started losing the vision in her right eye. Scared and depressed, Cheryl turned to Braille Institute for help.

Braille Institute’s classes provided Cheryl with the techniques and confidence she needed for her road back to independence. Here she learned daily living skills such as safe cooking techniques, how to fold money to identify bills, and using safety pins to distinguish clothing colors, e.g., one pin for black, two for blue. One challenge Cheryl did find hard to accept was using a white cane to get around. “In the beginning, I just kept it in my closet,” she admits. But with the encouragement and support of her Braille Institute instructor, Cheryl is now able to get out and about on her own.

In addition to the practical skills she has mastered, Cheryl has found emotional and creative fulfillment through Braille Institute’s many enrichment classes: ceramics, gardening, group games, computer classes, and reading “a ton of (audio) books” from the Library Services program.

Just back from a Kitchen Confidence class, she describes the tasty pizza she prepared, topped with pepperoni, cheese, mushrooms, and pineapple she herself expertly sliced. Cheryl is once again cooking her own meals, and she even prepared a Thanksgiving dinner for family and friends with turkey and all the fixings. “The kitchen looked like . . . .” Cheryl breaks off with a laugh, leaving the description to our imaginations.

Today, Cheryl lives an active and independent life, despite very limited vision. Thanks to Braille Institute, the bumps in the road no longer daunt her. “I’m so happy to have found Braille Institute,” she says. “It gave me back my life.”