Moncton volunteers with vision loss honoured for extraordinary community work


CNIB is honouring three exceptional volunteers at its annual community meeting (June 20, 2013) for their passion, dedication and support for individuals who are blind or partially sighted in New Brunswick.

“CNIB is pleased to announce Natalie Fougere as this year’s recipient of CNIB’s Outstanding Volunteer Award, and Tim and Amanda Doucette as this year’s recipients of the Holly Award,” said Christine Kennedy-Babineau, CNIB Volunteer Coordinator, New Brunswick. “Through their extraordinary leadership and volunteer efforts, Natalie, Tim and Amanda have had an immeasurable impact on the lives of people with vision loss in our province.”

In 2011, CNIB established the Holly Award as a tribute to the memory of Holly Bartlett, an extraordinary young woman from Halifax who didn’t let her vision loss hold her back from living life to the fullest. This award – presented to exceptional volunteers in Atlantic Canada – captures the spirit of Holly and recognizes the commitment and generosity of a CNIB volunteer with vision loss who has inspired people in our community and made a tremendous contribution to CNIB.

Tim and Amanda Doucette don’t let their vision loss stop them from pursuing their passion for adventure. 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. After falling in love with the freedom cycling gave them, the Moncton couple learned how to act as each other’s eyes and use technology to safely bike and navigate trails and roadways.

In July 2012, the Doucettes embarked on a seven-day cycling tour from one end of Prince Edward Island to the other. As part of their 354 kilometre journey, the couple raised funds and awareness for CNIB.

“Tim and Amanda have supported Maritimers with vision loss in a number of ways – whether it’s raising more than $6,000 in support of vision rehabilitation programs and services, volunteering with day-to-day activities in the CNIB Moncton office, or sharing their story and inspiring those around them to see beyond vision loss,” said Ms. Kennedy-Babineau.

CNIB’s Outstanding Volunteer Award recognizes exceptional service; defined as consistent, selfless giving of time and effort to help New Brunswickers who are blind or partially sighted fully participate in life.

Blind since birth due to optic nerve hypoplasia, Natalie Fougere began learning braille before she started kindergarten. Even as a child, the Moncton-resident never allowed her vision loss to keep her from accomplishing her goals. Already a Bachelor of Arts graduate, Fougere went on to explore her passion for languages through the University of Moncton’s accelerated translation program and earned her degree in 2012.

Through her involvement with the National Education Association of Disabled Students, Fougere plays a key role in providing resources for and advocating on behalf of students and recent graduates with all types of disabilities in New Brunswick.

“A longstanding volunteer with CNIB, Natalie exudes both passion and professionalism and is always eager to assist others,” said Ms. Kennedy-Babineau. “Her wide variety of volunteer roles include serving as a peer-support mentor to help empower other young people living with vision loss reach for and attain their goals. Natalie’s selflessness and dedication is unmatched – rendering her the epitome of what this award represents.”

“CNIB’s volunteers are truly the heart and soul of our organization,” Ms. Kennedy-Babineau. “Through their incredible passion and perseverance, Natalie, Tim and Amanda have touched the lives of many staff, clients and volunteers at CNIB.”

For more information on Holly Bartlett and how she embraced life, please see:

Media contact:

Nicole Lawrence
CNIB Communications
902.453.1480, ext. 5721

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