Meet Marion Smith

Giving back

Marion Smith

When Marion Smith decided to leave a portion of her estate to CNIB back in 1995, she had no idea she’d end up needing CNIB’s services herself one day.

Having no children, Marion and her husband had decided to leave their estate to charities they cared about instead of family. Marion chose CNIB as a tribute to her deceased mother, who had received support from CNIB after losing much of her vision to age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

“That gift was my way of honouring her,” she says.

Then, just like her mother and a million other Canadians, Marion developed AMD too.

And it wasn’t long before she needed CNIB’s help to deal with her own vision loss.

“I think reading is the one thing you miss the most,” she says. “The other really sad thing is when I’m on the street and friends pass saying ‘Hi Marion,’ and I don’t know who they are.”

But over the years, Marion has learned to adapt to life with vision loss and move forward, thanks in part to the help she’s received from CNIB – from support groups, to lessons in doing everyday tasks without vision, to the CNIB Library and a range of helpful tools like talking watches and scales.

Today, at 91 years old, Marion says she considers the people she’s met at CNIB to be like a second family, especially since the passing of her husband several years back.

“I lost my husband, but I gained a lot of lovely people from CNIB that come over and visit with me. And it certainly has taken up a big void in my life, I can tell you,” she says.

As for the gift she made in her will, Marion now knows first-hand what a difference it will make for CNIB’s clients – and she’s taking every opportunity she can to encourage others to do the same.

“There’s a lot of people that need help from CNIB, and CNIB isn’t supported much by the government. You know, what goes around comes around… Money is just a piece of paper, and I hope more people will get involved in giving,” she says.