Darcy's Story

Islander overcomes vision loss challenges with help from CNIB and an optimistic outlook

Photo of Darcy MacDougallBecause of a condition called optic nerve hypoplasia, Darcy MacDougall has been blind since birth. Despite the discouragement that often comes from a diagnosis like this, Darcy uses optimism to keep a positive outlook on life.

“Vision loss doesn’t have to get in the way of achieving your goals,” says Darcy. Since he’s completed a Bachelor of Arts with Honours at the University of Prince Edward Island, Darcy has been working for Veterans Affairs Canada for more than seven years where he received an award for his work with the department's employment equity programs.

As a CNIB client for as long as he can remember, Darcy often took advantage of the resources that were available to him.

“Some of my earliest memories are borrowing audio and braille books from the CNIB Library, using braille playing cards and my parents buying me a talking watch,” says MacDougall. “Through CNIB’s social functions, I connected with other blind and partially sighted youth who were experiencing similar things – it was a great comfort.”

Darcy is now taking weekly Orientation and Mobility (O&M) lessons to learn how to travel safely and independently. These lessons have helped him build the skills to navigate new environments like his office and workplace, walk safely with a white cane and travel confidently in his community.

With his newfound confidence, Darcy is now stepping outside of his comfort zone – literally.

“Travelling alone with vision loss can be frightening, but I’m gaining the skills to get over this fear,” he says. “My new mobility means I’m no longer anxious about certain things like travelling on my own for work or leisure. It’s those little things that allow you to see everyday challenges as obstacles you can overcome, rather than limitations.”

Darcy encourages others with vision loss to live their best life and take advantage of the programs and services that CNIB offers. “There’s no shame in getting help,” he says. “Sometimes a little bit of support and encouragement can go a long way.”

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