Meet Betty Ann

Betty Ann smiling in a parkWhen we met Betty Ann Baker in 2003, she’d just been diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) – the leading cause of vision loss in Canada – and her emotions were spiralling out of control. 

“I was in a state of absolute panic,” says Betty Ann. “After I got diagnosed, I lost three to four weeks of work. I was in real trouble… real crisis.” 

That’s when she called CNIB. 

Tammy, a CNIB specialist, spent an hour on the phone with Betty Ann – offering her a shoulder to lean on, as well as practical information to help her understand her condition and what she could expect in the future. 

“I just remember feeling there was a lifeline,” says Betty Ann. “I can’t tell you what it meant to have someone from CNIB put a hand on my hand and say ‘It’s going to be okay. You’re going to be okay.’”  

Tammy also showed Betty Ann simple techniques for maximizing her vision, like putting her back to the light whenever possible. Betty Ann couldn’t believe it. When the light was behind her, she could suddenly read again. She attributes this simple technique to her ability to maintain her career.  

Tammy also helped her access vision aids like magnifiers, encouraged her to discuss AMD treatment options with her doctor, counselled her through the challenges of adapting to vision loss and taught her practical skills to manage her daily activities – all of which is helping her to lead the full, active life she enjoys today. 

“A new dawn comes for everyone – proper information and support breathes in new life. I encourage everyone to do whatever it takes to get that help,” she says.