MY LOW VISION IS NOT WHO I AM
In 2007, Donna Williams was a single mom in her mid-30s, working in a medical office and studying for a degree in nursing. On December 10, 2007, she woke up with no vision in her right eye. The diagnosis: torn, detached retinae; cause unknown.
“I had a plan to get a good job with benefits and flexible hours so I could spend time with my son and have a fulfilling career. I just wanted to get my eye fixed and move on,” Donna said.
But, over the next four months, her retinas tore and detached six times...in both eyes. In just two years, Donna had eight surgeries, and five procedures, resulting in glaucoma from the scar tissue.
“While recovering, my young son crawled into bed with me and said, ‘You’re going to be okay, Mom.’ And I thought, I am because God wouldn’t give me this little boy if He didn’t think I could handle this.
“My family was unbelievable. My son and I lived with my parents, which allowed me to be a stay-at-home mom and be involved in my son’s school, church, and non-profits.
When Donna’s son entered high school, she talked to her vocational rehabilitation instructor and told her it was time to “figure me out and let my son breathe and live his life.” Her goal was to finish school.
That’s when the instructor told her about Bosma’s rehab program.
“I’m so grateful for Bosma and knowing I’m not alone. Being surrounded by people who care. It’s a safe place...a wonderful place.
“Michelle, a licensed social worker, helped me through a lot of personal issues. I learned skills I didn’t know I needed like Braille, the white cane, and managing household chores. And, the technology equipment and skills they provided? Life changing.
"The people were the best. We did a lot of group activities, in fact, I just did a 5-week No-Vision, Low-Vision Dance Class through Bosma. I still stay in contact with many alumni,” she said.
Michelle and her team helped Donna apply to the University of Indianapolis. They told her about scholarships and grants and prepped her for writing papers and taking tests. She entered the University of Indianapolis in 2022 and is majoring in social work, with a minor in psychology.
"I let Michelle know when I make the Dean's List and have received scholarships because of my GPA. And now, we're working out the possibility of me doing my senior practicum at Bosma next year!
“Someday, I hope to work at a place like Bosma or maybe an eye clinic, helping people who are blind or visually impaired with the next steps in their journey. People need to know the resources available and how to prepare for a successful future," she said.
"This is not my success story. I always give it to God and the phenomenal people who continue to be there for me.” ~ Donna Williams