Cyclists with vision loss inspire others to follow their dreams 

Tim and Amanda ride their bicycles Having cycled from one end of Prince Edward Island to the other over a seven-day, 288-kilometer trek, Tim and Amanda Doucette don’t let their vision loss stop them from perusing their passion for adventure.

A partially sighted couple, Tim was born blind with cataracts obscuring his vision and Amanda was born with Colobomas, a deformity of the iris limiting her visual field and distance vision.

Originally from Quinan, Nova Scotia, Tim was six months old when doctors were able to remove cataracts that covered both his eyes, which restored about 10 per cent of his vision. Since then, he’s had a detached retina and developed glaucoma. Tim credits CNIB and his itinerate teacher for helping him finish high school, earn a computer programming diploma from the College of Geographical Sciences and a bachelor of computer science from the Technical University of Nova Scotia. Currently, Tim is a software developer for a local insurance company.

Amanda, Tim’s wife, hails from Bristol, New Brunswick. She was born with an eye condition called Colobomas, a deformity of the iris limiting her visual field and distance vision, and since has developed splatter cataracts that can’t be removed. Throughout her life, CNIB’s specialists have provided her with personal support and tools for independent living. Today, Amanda works for an agency that provides home care support.

“CNIB has helped Amanda and I become who we are today,” says Tim, who resides in Moncton with Amanda and their 12-year-old son. “The support provided by CNIB’s programs and services specialists has given us the tools and resources to do the things we love and be active, contributing members in our community.”

While visiting PEI with friends a few years ago, Tim and Amanda cycled some trails and fell in love with the freedom that cycling gave them. “We act as each other’s eyes trying to avoid roads and we cycle the Island’s trails as much as possible,” says Tim. “Even though we are able to see traffic lights changing sometimes, we can’t always see other driver's cues.”  Having better eyesight than Amanda, Tim leads the way using a communication headset to give her verbal cues such as person, gate, tree, or rock and they will rely on their listening skills to hear traffic and pedestrians. Combined with their appreciation for CNIB and the thrill of cycling, Tim and Amanda wanted to give back to the organization that provides them with endless possibilities in life.

The Eye Bike 4 Sight fundraiser – their most recent seven-day cycling adventure across the Island – raised funds and awareness for CNIB’s vision rehabilitation programs and services offered to individuals who are blind or partially sighted in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.

“Our hope for this project was to inspire others to look beyond their disabilities and find ways to achieve their dreams,” says Tim. “The awareness and funds raised have helped individuals with vision loss become independent in their homes and communities, allowing them – people like us – to live life to the fullest.”


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