Meet Mary Ellen

Mary Ellen uses an electric magnifier to read the print on her medication.

When Mary Ellen had a stroke 16 years ago, she began to lose her sight. Now, she describes her vision as not being able to see facial features. Still living on her own, she relies on assistive technology she received through the Empowerment Fund to navigate her world. The Empowerment Fund is a donor-funded client financial assistance program that ensures people like Mary Ellen can receive the assistive technology they need to navigate our visual world. Mary Ellen credits Cleveland Sight Center, and our donors, for her independence.

Through the Empowerment Fund, Mary received a handheld video magnifier, a white cane, specialized lights, a colorino (to identify clothing color), a high-tech CCTV and more.

“CSC showed me there were things I could buy to help me live independently, and without donor support, I would not have been able to afford them,” Mary Ellen said. “There are many people like me that can’t get these tools, but we benefit from them each and every day.”

Mary Ellen uses a CCTV to read handwriting on a piece of paper.

Mary Ellen’s favorite piece of assistive technology is the “Topaz OCR CCTV.” The TOPAZ OCR combines video magnification and text-to-speech features into a single desktop video magnifier. With this device, she continues to be able to independently pay her bills, read her mail, read books and so much more.

“Without these assistive technology tools, I wouldn’t have any independence,” Mary Ellen said.

Cleveland Sight Center believes everyone should have access to the assistive technology they need to make the world accessible for them and the Empowerment Fund helps us do just that.

Through the generous support of our donors, the Empowerment Fund ensures everyone who walks through our doors can receive the assistive technology they need to restore their hope, navigate the visual world and continue to do the things they love independently.  

“I don’t want to think about what my life would look like without these tools,” said Mary Ellen. “I would not be independent at all. I wouldn’t be able to read anything.”