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Hope and Empowerment for the Visually Impaired

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Life’s Silver Linings

Michael Monhollon smiling

It’s hard not to smile and laugh when spending time with Michael. He’s the type of individual that seems to find the positive in most situations. He has a way of, as he puts it, rolling with the punches and finding life’s silver linings.

Several years ago, Michael recognized he was having vision issues and eventually sought treatment from his doctor. After multiple eye surgeries, Michael was faced with the reality that his vision loss would be permanent. Even upon learning of this news he knew that he had to keep a positive mindset and press forward. Michael met with specialists to discuss his options and to find out more about resources for the blind. Conversations with doctors and researching different programs and organizations, Michael settled on one of the first places he had heard about, Lighthouse.

“The professionalism of the instructors,” he says, “is on point”. Michael is pleased he has the support and knowledge of his Lighthouse instructors. “You get out of it what you put into it,” he says. “You have to be willing to listen, learn and be able to look inside yourself. You have to put in the work.” It’s this mantra of staying positive and putting forth the effort that has allowed Michael to adapt to losing his vision, but he recognizes that it’s a team effort.

Michael was recently invited to one of the Lighthouse’s in-person Walk & Talk sessions he jumped at the opportunity to attend. He recognized the chance to use what skills he had learned from his Orientation & Mobility instructor in one-on-one sessions but also to learn in a new and unfamiliar environment. “It was enlightening,” he says, “we were able to travel the mall with all the people and countless obstacles. It was awesome and what our instructor helped us to accomplish was pretty awesome too.” And while the pandemic has changed how classes and instruction have been conducted, Michael noted that the level of care and compassion of the Lighthouse has not wavered.

Michael notes that his journey hasn’t always been easy but that he tries to approach each day with a positive outlook. “I’m hopeful and,” he adds, “going to do everything I can.” It’s this notion of taking what life has given him and turning it into something positive that is so incredible. “There is a silver lining to this cloud,” sharing the story of his younger brother beginning early eye treatment under the guidance of an eye specialist that has helped to save his brother’s vision. Having nearly an identical medical background, Michael credits the path he walked in saving his younger brother’s vision. “I’m going to own this,” Michael adds “With the help of good people and good instruction you can conquer anything.”



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