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RESTORING PEOPLE AND COMMUNITY STORIES


REGAINING SIGHT STORIES

iChallenged has helped a number of persons recover their sight.

Martina has been living in Detroit with her family for 14 years. She has developed cataracts and is blind in one eye. Without insurance, she was referred to iChallenged for help. Utilizing the one-of-a-kind iChallenged Cataract Program, Martina was able to obtain cataract surgery for $1200 instead of the "usual and customary" - $3200.  "I can now see and am so grateful to iChallenged. Muchas Gracias!"

Father Anthony is a priest with a congregation in Detroit. He is here in Michigan as a missionary traveling between the United States and Nigeria. He was referred to iChallenged with extremely blurred vision and was considered as legally blind. After careful examination it was determined that cataracts had been removed from both eyes; however, no intra-ocular implant was placed in the right eye. With proper corrective lenses. Father Anthony is now seeing 20/25 in his aphakic eye (without implant) and 20/80 in his other eye. He was heard saying, “miracles do happen.”

Jake was referred to iChallenged with hope of improved vision since becoming legally blind. With special low vision telescopic and microscopic lenses and great encouragement, Jake has returned to broadcasting and has his own, local radio program. “iChallenged has re-vitalized my life and given me new hope with the aid of the special low vision devices they recommended through a local organization.

Izadore has had glaucoma for many years; however, without insurance, expensive testing and treatment was near impossible, until he discovered the iChallenged Glaucoma Program. For the cost of a typical medical eye examination, Isadore receives one years’ worth of care.  "I have been receiving the crucial treatment and assistance with expensive glaucoma medicine, enabling me to continue my life and employment. Thank you so much iChallenged."

Melissa has Diabetes and is uninsured. With the help of a local faith-based non-profit medical clinic, Melissa has been able to receive the medical care she requires, including access to iChallenged for her most-important medical eye care. Her eye care is being provided for a fraction of the cost usually charged. "I now understand that I must not only watch my sugar intake, but also reduce or eliminate carbohydrates, which turn into sugar. I was shown photographs of the back of my eye (retina) and saw the early bleeding taking place. It was a wake-up call that I'll never forget. My blood sugar level this morning was 112 mg/dl which is very much controlled and my A1C has come down from 11.4 to 6.5 which is pretty darn good."

Preventive care will save, in the long run, thousands of dollars in medical care and most importantly, help prevent blindness.

PRODUCTIVITY AND PUPOSEFUL LIFE STORIES

Floyd was shot 11 times during a robbery. He was blinded and moved into his sister's home about 5 months after the robbery incident to recover. Floyd was referred to iChallenged by a local optometrist. When an iChallenged agent met Floyd, he was sitting in a dark bed room on the 2nd floor of his sister’s home afraid to exit his room because of trauma and his lack of mobility training and the unfamiliar home layout. He was helped down stairs to a living-room couch where he was evaluated. It was determined Floyd could not use a provided computer due to his recent loss of sight loss and of function of his right arm which was recovering from 7 wounds. A week later iChallenged returned to Floyd's home and provided him with an iPhone 4s. Floyd balanced the iPhone on his left knee and used his left arm and hand to commence the process of learning. The process of training him to use the phone with its Voice Over mode and assistive iPhone apps proceeded. Within 4 months of weekly training Floyd was using the phone to contact friends using the Siri voice assistant, send e-mails, text messages and explore the internet. Floyd had an internet based clothing business and could keep it going with the help of family and the iPhone. His trauma and depression slowly left him and by the end of the first year of training and many other medical interventions he was well on the way to a healing. It is now 3 years after the disability and Floyd is back in his own home running his internet business. He has returned to a happy and productive life and is now helping other blind people in his community via his non-profit "Blind Lives Matter."

Over the years iChallenged supported several summer camps for the blind. Approximately 10% of the students were there as a result of having suffered gun-shot wounds resulting in blindness and cognitive damage.

iChallenged met Roger, a legally blind quadriplegic, by referral to train him in computer skills. Roger's goal was to complete a college degree at a local university. A combination of a screen reader (JAWS), Dragon Naturally Speaking Professional (a voice control program for computer), and JSAY (JSAY allows the voice control and screen reader to work together.) to enable hands free sight free control of the computer. Due to the difficulty, high effort and time required to travel to the school and on campus class rooms, Roger was unable to fulfill his goal of getting a degree. Instead Roger decided to study music. He chose the harmonica because he could play it with the very limited use of his hands and arms. At this point Roger involved iChallenged to train him in the use of UTube and the internet to study the use of the harmonica. Three years later Roger is an accomplished harmonica player playing professionally in the area.

iChallenged met Kathy through a Job in Jeopardy intervention arranged by a local organization. Kathy could no longer transcribe doctor dictation due to a change in software at the hospital she worked at. To restore Kathy's ability to use the system iChallenged worked with hospital IT staff, servers, and Kathy's home computer. The hospital incorporated the JAWS screen reader along with a CITRIX module on a hospital computer and provided the technology she need to continue her transcription work at home. Kathy was than trained to use her new home system by iChallenged.

LIFE ENRICHMENT STORIES

Doris is 62 years of age and has advanced macular degeneration. She came to iChallenged with no computer knowledge nor typing skills. She primarily wanted to learn e-mail to communicate with her daughter in Hawaii and many friends. Doris was instructed in the use of Sam Net and System Access Mobile Network which features voice recording e-mail capability that minimizes the need for typing. She requested help in obtaining a home computer, which soon was donated to her. Doris now is an avid computer user, advancing far beyond e-mail. She even has her own web site and blog.

Adelle is 78 years of age and has macular degeneration. Adelle came to iChallenged to be trained in the use of a computer screen magnification program. She has a computer with Zoom Text magnification at home but has had difficulty using it. She wanted to use e-mail to communicate with family and many friends and “browse the web/internet.” She came to the Oakland County LVPI for iChallenged training. Several inhome training sessions were provided. It is now one year later and Adelle’s macular degeneration has advanced. She no longer can use the screen magnification program effectively at home. She now is requesting “in home” support and training from iChallenged in the use of Sam Net and System Access Mobile Network, which is an assistive technology that empowers the blind in the use of the computer, e-mail, and the Internet.

Kathern is 90 years of age and has advanced macular degeneration. Kathern wants to improve her use of Jaws, a screen reader for the blind, which is on her home computer. She wants to use e-mail to communicate with family and many friends and “browse the web/internet.” Her computer was broken and needed to be “restaged” -- including software installation. iChallenged made several in home support visits to repair her computer and coach Kathern in the use of Jaws. She now happily is using her computer and Jaws for e-mail and web browsing.

Lawrence is 52 years of age and lost his sight suddenly two years ago because of a stroke, which also affected his mobility. His prior job was working with computers. He now is confined to a wheelchair and has no sight and is depressed. Rose, Lawrence’s wife, has called iChallenged several times requesting in home assistive technology training for Lawrence, to provide a point of life enrichment and empowerment for him. iChallenged has approved a 4 hour in home meeting with Lawrence and Rose to introduce them to computer technologies for the blind. 

John is 42 years of age, has cerebral palsy, is learning challenged and is blind. John lives with his parents Mary and Martin and is an avid user of short wave radio. John’s parents did not think John could use a computer due to minimal hand function and other limitations, but they heard of Sam Net and System Access Mobile Network simple voice-command interface. John came to the Oakland County LVPI for iChallenged training. Later, several in home training sessions were provided. Much to John’s delight and his parent's surprise, John now can go on the internet using the Sam Net and System Access Mobile Network interface. He loves checking the marine weather on the Sam Net and System Access Mobile Network weather web link. 

David is 59 years old, has multiple sclerosis and is legally blind. David used to play the guitar. He loves music, especially music of the 1960's and 1970's era. David contacted iChallenged and requested in home training. His goal was to learn how to get music off the web and search the internet on topics of interest. Several in home training sessions were provided. David now can use the Internet to interface with websites that bring joy and fulfillment into his life. He now has a growing personal “library” of his favorite songs and music.

Rosalynn is 104 years of age and is legally blind. She has no close living relatives and lives in Charlevoix, Michigan. There she is supported by close friends, a mentor and an advocate who lives in New Mexico. Rosalynn feels left behind by the computer and internet revolutions and wants to use these technologies in her life. Veronique, her advocate in New Mexico, contacted iChallenged and requested support for Rosalynn. During a visit to the Detroit area Veronique met with iChallenged and was trained on Sam Net and System Access Mobile Network. Veronique then went to visit Rosalynn in Charlevoix. iChallenged provided several additional remote training sessions for Rosalynn and Veronique. (Sam Net and System Access Mobile Network has a remote training capability.) During iChallenged's last training session with Rosalynn, she was locating information on the Internet about her stocks. Rosalynn thanks iChallenged for their support and for enriching her life.

Amy is 23 years of age, has cerebral palsy and is legally blind. The computer is an important part of Amy's life. It is an empowerment tool, which facilitates her college work and provides life enrichment. Because of sight and hand motion limitations, Amy's ability to use the computer has been limited. She came to the library for iChallenged training. An in-home assistive technology evaluation and several training sessions on Sam Net and System Access Mobile Network also were provided. The mouse pointing device was replaced by a track ball to ease screen navigation. She requested help in obtaining a monitor upgrade for her home computer. A 32-inch monitor and a subscription to Sam Net and System Access Mobile Network were donated to her by the local Lions club. Amy's computer productivity has increased substantially because of the larger monitor, track-ball, and training.

BLIND TEACHING THE BLIND STORIES

Several individuals (many legally blind) approached iChallenged for help and were deemed high potential for mastering and teaching other blind individuals assistive technology. iChallenged enlisted them as contractors and provided a process of training them as intern teachers. All had a deep desire to help others who are blind excel in life by empowering them through technology. More than 10 of these individuals subsequently were certified to teach other blind persons. They now earn between $40 and $130/hour as certified teachers.

Several of the above individuals and certified teachers are available for interview. Contact info will be provided if desired

ICHALLENGED OUT-REACH STORIES

Robert lives in Jamaica. He lost his sight 5 years ago due to being shot in the face during an in-process robbery that he walked in on at a party store. He lost his job, his wife divorced him and his children were placed with other family members because of this tragedy. He contacted iChallenged through a friend using an internet search and requested help 3 months after being disabled. Robert did not know how to type or use a computer but had been given one by a local church after his incident. iChallenged could connect remotely to Robert's computer, put the NVDA screen reader and training software on it and taught him from the Detroit area. Using 1 to 2-hour sessions twice a week, Robert was highly motivated and quickly caught on to typing and screen reading technology. At the end of his first year of training he was using e-mail, cruising the internet and was on the road to returning to a happy and productive life helping other blind people. Robert is now a part of the Jamaican governmental system representing the disabled on his side of the island. Robert also is on a weekly radio program which makes disabled residents of Jamaica aware of technology which can help them. He also has setup a facility to teach the blind computer skills in Montego Bay. Robert's video story

 

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