Founder’s Statement

me My Personal Story:

As a sales professional, I was just coming off a successful sales blitz that we experienced in the local area, and I needed to get into my territory to continue the relationships I had with my clients.  Well, no matter what plans I had, the market certainly had something different in mind.   In 2009, the economy was now in a total state of recession.   From a personal standpoint, my visual acuity had always been 20/20, when suddenly I started to feel inept, and at times, even a bit “clumsy” while out working.    Suddenly, I began feeling an unusual eye pain with any movement of my eye.  To put it simply, it always felt like I had “something” in my eye that I just could not remove.  I told my family that I just could not deal with the pain any longer and I was going to the doctor.  When I went to see an ophthalmologist, I was unable to see the exam and was immediately referred for an MRI.  The MRI test showed that my optic nerve was swollen.  Upon informing my employer of my medical condition, I was encouraged to take medical leave.  After a week of being out on medical leave, my employer notified me that they needed to let me go due to a reduction in workforce.  So at this time I began having appointments with different doctors to find out specifically what was going on with my eye.

By the time I was referred to the Emory Eye Center, they could only do so much.   I was immediately hospitalized for a week and placed on consistent steroid injections in an effort to shrink the swelling and regain my eyesight.   Unfortunately, by this time, I now had a poor peripheral and limited center vision in my right eye.   I sank immediately into depression which surrounded disbelief that all of this was happening at the same time.

Yet throughout these events, my doctors with the Emory Eye Center were amazing!   They each encouraged me through my tears and emotions.  So much so that I will never forget what my one of my doctors, Dr. Valerie Biousse, once told me:  “you can do anything you want to do”. One day as I sat down during a seemingly routine visit, I finally realized that all of these recent events weren’t personal.    These events were about LIFE!  I started to look around at my surroundings and I saw little babies, older adults and young adults who were all packed in a room desperate to get help with their eye sight.   At this point, it was not about anything else beyond a genuine heart for helping others.   Today, it is my heart’s desire to let others know the importance of listening to your body during those times that “something doesn’t feel right”, and encouragement to go to the doctor immediately!

Furthermore, it is my desire to assist someone who may be in a similar situation and provide them with information that might encourage them.   I want to pay it forward and help people obtain a pair of glasses or help pay for a co-payment that would otherwise be unaffordable.   Despite my current medical situation, I stand strong and full of faith knowing that the Optic Neuritis Foundation will help give someone the help they need.   That’s when I knew, “My Vision was Clear”!