In 2012, I was diagnosed with Stargardt Disease. This degenerative eye disease results in the eventual loss of central vision. Think about some of the key roles of our central vision..driving, reading, walking down a set of stairs without them looking like a child’s slide, as well as permitting face recognition.
Ask me my worst case scenario and my immediate reply is ‘not being able to see your face’. I know I stroll by people each day without acknowledging them with a ‘hello’. This truly breaks my heart. Numerous times, after the fact, I have heard comments like ‘I thought you were upset with me’ or ‘I though you didn’t wish to chat with me’. This is extremely difficult for someone like myself, who has always put their best foot forward to be confident, friendly and approachable.
I do not require the white cane; I am able to leave each day with make-up and hair looking fab. My limitations are invisible. I cannot be isolated.
I realized very early on that I needed to take control of at least one aspect of a crappy situation. ‘Say Hello’ immediately sprung to mind. A logo to, hopefully, create curiosity and awareness.
The number of smiles and greetings I have received as I sport my cap while running the boardwalk or wear my t-shirt while strolling the shops has been amazing. It also surprises me of the number of people aware of braille.
It is working…just ‘Say Hello’!