Raymond Pollock – Veteran appreciates CNIB help to continue his love of reading

November 2 - Veteran Raymond Pollock smaller size.JPGRaymond Pollock is a 92-year-old veteran who enjoys a quiet life in Grande Prairie, Alberta. When he was only 14-years-old, the Second World War began. It was 1939, and he was too young to enlist, but when he turned 18 in '43 that’s just what he did. For the next two years, Mr. Pollock spent time overseas fighting on behalf of King, country, and the Canadian Armed Forces.

When the war ended in 1945, he returned home to Alberta. He tried his hand at farming for a few years before joining his father at the family store. From there, Mr. Pollock moved into sales, first with an insurance agency and then with Kraft Foods. He remained with Kraft until his retirement. Along the way, Mr. Pollock married and had two children. Nowadays his granddaughter Dayleen, often comes to visit and help around the house. "I’m quite lucky that I have a granddaughter," he says showing his appreciation.

When his vision began to deteriorate in his eighties, Mr. Pollock knew he needed help. In 2011, he reached out to CNIB looking for it. What he found were staff who were willing to go the extra step and guide him through his changing needs. "I’ve been treated the best," Mr. Pollock says about his experience with CNIB.

Mr. Pollock has macular degeneration. His diagnosis came around eight years ago. Age related macular degeneration (AMD) happens when the macula, a small area in the retina, begins to breakdown. This alters one’s ability to see details and, as the disease progresses, often results in blank spots in the central field of vision.

Lynette Vetsch, CNIB Client Support Services Coordinator based in Grande Prairie, has nothing but glowing remarks about Mr. Pollock. "He is an amazing gentleman," Vetsch says, "a beautiful soul." She recalls meeting him the first time in his home, where he made a point to sit with her in his living room. "He knew I was new," she explains. "So, he tried to make me feel comfortable too."

With AMD, one doesn’t lose all vision, just the central areas of focus. One can lose the ability to drive, see faces or to do things around the house. "I’ve made it a point to go to him," Vetsch says. "Getting around in our community is hard, especially for seniors."

When his vision declined so that reading became difficult, staff in the Grande Prairie office were there with different options to allow him to enjoy the pastime again.

"I have one of those machines to read the paper by," Mr. Pollock explains about his closed-circuit television, or CCTV.

CNIB has been able to provide Mr. Pollock with a variety of technology to make his life easier, from his CCTV to a talking watch. He’s also fond of his DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) reader, which allows him to receive audio books from CELA (Centre for Equitable Library Access) and keep up his love of reading.

These are just some of the many services CNIB provides to our veterans, and after having them serve our country, it is a privilege to be able to help serve them in their sight loss journey.