My name is Audrey Demmitt. I am 50-something and live south of Atlanta Georgia with my husband Kevin and our 2 dogs Lucy (a pug) and Sophie, my guide dog (a golden retriever). I was raised on a horse farm in Michigan with my six siblings. Later, we moved to Phoenix. I attended the University of Arizona and graduated with a degree in nursing. Recently, I retired after 29 yrs of working as a nurse with a visual impairment. For the last 11 years of my career, I was a school nurse. I have worked with a vision rehabilitation agency as an adjustment counselor and diabetic educator. Currently, I lead a support group for the visually impaired in my community. I enjoy speaking to school groups and clubs about vision loss, living with a disability, and using a guide dog. I have been dabbling in professional and creative writing. I am the Support Group Advisor and a Peer Advisor for the American Foundation for the Blind/ VisionAware site.
Kevin and I have 3 wonderful adult children and our family is growing! Andrew is our oldest and he is married to Ashley. They just moved back to our hometown and live 1 mile from us. He is an emergency room PA, and Ashley is a social worker in the area of Domestic Violence. They are expecting their first child and our first grandbaby! So exciting! Hannah, our “only daughter” graduated with a dual master’s in Public Health and Social Work from UGA. She lives and works in Knoxville, Tn. as the program director for a residential treatment center for mothers and their newborns who are dealing with addictions. She is engaged to Clay, a professional cyclist from Tasmania who rides for an American team called Astellas. Their wedding is September 2016. Jacob is a journalist and writes for a newspaper in Roanoke, Virginia. He is recently engaged to Melissa, who is also a journalist. They will marry in 2017. They are, by far, my greatest accomplishment in life and my pride and joy!
I am an avid reader and enjoy traveling. I love to cook and try new and exotic foods. I love words, word games and writing. I enjoy meeting new people and hearing their stories-for we all have a story to tell. My latest crafty passion is making rag rugs and crocheting baby blankets. I enjoy being in nature-hiking and exploring the great outdoors. Among my greatest pleasures in life are morning coffee, sunshine, time with family, lazy lunch dates with friends, yoga, long walks with Sophie and at the end of the day, brushing and cuddling with her. (note-cuddling with my teddy bear of a husband is also quite nice!)
My Vision Problems
I was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa at age 25 though I had it for years before the diagnosis was made. At age 30, I lost my driver’s license due to my vision changes. That was a real life-changer! Gradually, I continued to lose vision and became legally blind in 1994. I realized I needed to get help when I started having trouble getting around safely, reading normal print, using the computer, doing activities of daily living, and coping emotionally. I began vision rehabilitation to learn about assistive technologies, orientation and mobility skills, and adapted ways to cook, clean and do other household activities. I learned to use a white cane to move about safely and eventually got my first guide dog. Sophie came to me from Leader Dogs for the Blind and we have been together since 2011. She was another life-changer!
Why This Blog?
I want to share my story in hopes of encouraging and empowering others who are experiencing vision loss. It is my goal to educate and build awareness around the issues the visually impaired face on a daily basis. I hope family and friends of the visually impaired community will also gain insight and understanding that will help them as well. I wish you all a rich and meaningful life…it is possible even with vision loss! Life is “in-session”…live it!
“There is much adversity in this life…but there is also much overcoming of it” Helen Keller
All the best,