About Us

This blog is about how the world is viewed by the visual and the visually impaired. The intent of this blog is to bring the two worlds together. It is administered by two fabulous sisters, Toni, who is sighted and Robin, who became visually impaired in 2002 at the age of 18 due to misdiagnosis.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Take A Ride With Me

I invite you to take a ride with me; a journey down memory lane. The year was 2000, and like most sixteen year olds, I was ready to take on whatever the world had to offer. On a beautiful, bright, afternoon, I could feel the nervousness in my stomach as I watched the clock draw near to 3:00 p.m. When the time came, I approached the driver’s seat of the car, and proceeded to get into the vehicle. During the whole car ride, all I could think about was hearing those three little words; which to me at that time would have a big impact on my life. When reaching the destination, I put the car in park and turned off the engine. I silently waited for the verdict as my heart started to beat at a faster pace. Then, what seemed to be like a century, I heard those words that I had been waiting so long to hear; congratulations, you passed. Yes! I, Robin Ennis, was an official licensed driver. Like the majority of sighted sixteen year olds, I was ecstatic about the thought of being able to drive myself places. However, I’m not sure my Dad felt the same joy that I had. My Dad said that he was scared about letting me loose in a big machine. LOL. For me, this was one of the happiest days of my life.
Unfortunately, four years later, after losing my eyesight, I had to surrender my license; something to me that held so much meaning. Let’s just say that was a hard day, and my blindness became more of a reality. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to drive a car again, but what I do know is that I still have those priceless moments that no one can take away from me.
If you’re wondering what sparked this trip down memory lane, and even if you’re not, I’ll tell you anyway. Saturday, January 29, 2011 is a monumental time for the world, especially many in the blind community. It is the unveiling of the adapted car for blind individuals. The car is configured with several technological features that would allow blind individuals to drive without sighted assistance. In fact, at the unveiling in Daytona, there will be a blind individual test driving the car in front of thousands. To learn more about the unveiling and developers of the car, check out http://www.nfb.org/nfb/NewsBot.asp?MODE=VIEW&ID=683. Let me know what you think. By the way, should I give it a try?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Beautifully Blind, Inc. Grant Applications....

Beautifully Blind, Inc. is now accepting applications for 2011 Optic Atrophy Research Grants and Assistive Technology Grants.

Optic Atrophy Research Grant

Optic atrophy or damage to the optic nerve is a widespread eye condition that affects many people across the world. According to the National Institutes of Health, optic atrophy is tissue death of the nerve; ultimately causing permanent blindness. There are many causes that can result in a person being inflicted with this life altering eye condition. Such causes can include but are not limited to poor blood flow, trauma, shock, glaucoma, brain disorders, and sometimes genetics (National Institutes of Health, 2010). If not controlled, optic atrophy can not only diminish a person’s vision, but also the ability to have light perception. There is no current treatment for optic atrophy due to its irreversible nature.

Due to the lack of treatment options that are readily available to people with optic atrophy, research is crucial in order for sight to be restored. Currently, in the United States there are several researchers/scientists whose mission is to find methods to rejuvenate the optic nerve. Such research includes stem cells, gene therapy, and implants.

The awarded grants from Beautifully Blind, Inc. will allow the organization to assist in these research efforts through financial contributions. Beautifully Blind, Inc. will award financial assistance to organizations that are making strides in trying to find treatment for optic atrophy. Research will create understanding, and understanding will hopefully one day lead to a cure.

In order to be selected for consideration, organizations applying for a grant must:

1) Qualify under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
2) The organization’s mission must be in the area of optic atrophy research.
3) The organization must have a proposed plan of action.
4) There needs to be a level of collaboration/partnership with others for the benefit of advancing optic atrophy research.

The level of leadership the organization possesses within their community will also be taken into consideration. Any of the applicants who do not meet the above criteria, will not be selected for consideration.

Assistive Technology Grant

Assistive technology devices can often be the deciding factor of whether or not an individual succeeds in their educational, personal or work like. Beautifully Blind, Inc. provides funding for assistive technology. The application will need to be supported by an assistive technology assessment establishing the requested product meets the client needs. Applications must be accompanied with a recommendation letter from a third party such as a welfare worker, social worker, or a group that supports the blind or similar that can verify the need and financial status. Persons eligible to apply must have a family income less that $50,000.00 and cash assets less than $20,000.00. Previous grant recipients are not assured of future funding. To ensure the grant is used for the intended purpose, grants service will pay the product supplier directly rather than providing cash grants. Grant applicants must be legally blind and a resident of the United States. The application will be available starting January 1st of every year that funding is available. The deadline to apply will be June 1st. The applications will be reviewed by the Grants Committee and recipients will be notified by August 1st. Grants will be awarded at the Annual Gala held in October.

There is a $25.00 application fee.

To request an application, please send an email to info@beautifullyblind.org with Optic Atrophy Research Grant or Assistive Technology Grant in the subject line.

These applications will be available via www.beautifullyblind.org soon.

"Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much."
Helen Keller