A Prayer Answered And Kindness Prevails
For Sister Margaret Mary, teaching young children hobbies such as crocheting, loom knitting, spinning, and jewelry is a challenge. Sister has been legally blind since birth due to Retinopathy of Prematurity. Yet, she hasn’t let her diagnosis stop her from pursuing her passion for teaching music and crafts to students Pre K to eighth grade, for more than 30 years. “That’s what I do. I do music and crafting and they are gifts I was given to share,” proclaimed Sister Margaret Mary.
In order to accomplish her daily tasks, Sister has built up an array of low vision assistive technology devices – many of which are either stationary, heavy and a burden to carry around. While they have worked well for her in the past, she knew she needed a wearable device to help her see in real-time. “I use [the devices] until they’re dead,” she said. That’s when she decided to write an email about the possibility of a donation of a wearable device.
At the same time, Dawn Prall, Owner, President, and CEO of Sage Vision was considering how she and the Sage team could do good and lift someone in need up especially during these COVID-19 times. Prall received the Sister’s email asking if there was any way possible she could get an OrCam wearable device, at no cost, to help her read using portable assistive technology “The stars in the heavens were definitely aligned,” proclaimed Prall as she glanced upward with a big smile and patted her heart.
“As sight disappears, so does a person’s connection to the world,” said Prall. “During these times of COVID-19, those who already feel isolated due to blindness or low vision can become even more so as the world socially distances itself.”
Sage Vision is a woman-owned company based in Bala Cynwyd, and is the Pennsylvania dealer for all types of low vision assistive technology devices. Sage Vision helps the millions of people and families across Pennsylvania whose lives are impacted by vision impairment from macular degeneration, glaucoma, sight loss due to eye injury, and beyond to be more independent and accomplish their goals. Sage goes beyond delivering a box at the door. We provide personalized demonstrations, training, support, and customer service to help ensure people living with visual impairments are comfortable using their devices at home, work, or school.
“My passion for working with the visually impaired community and striving to build awareness about low vision and the tools available to people is what empowers Sage Vision. We help people who cannot see. This is what guides and drives our core values as a company. As we navigate our second year and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, COVID -19 or not – this is who we are, we’re all about helping people and Sage Vision is with them on their low vision journey,” she exclaimed.
As Sister picked up the ringing phone that day, she had no idea that she would soon be on the receiving end of such wonderful news! When Prall told Sister that Sage Vision was giving her an OrCam MyReader, Sister was in shock. “I never have won anything in my life,” she declared with gratitude and excitement.
The OrCam MyReader is a wearable assistive technology device that uses a camera and optical character recognition (OCR) technology to read books, signs, product labels and even computer screens aloud. It responds to simple hand gestures and connects with other Bluetooth devices.
As soon as Sister received her MyReader, she started her one-on-one training sessions with Prall. The Sister picked up quickly and is a natural at using the device. Listening to the OrCam MyReader read aloud from her prayer book brought a huge smile and a tear in her eye (and Prall’s too!) opening up a whole new world. “Assistive technology puts me on the same playing field as the totally sighted,” said Sister and she is excited that the MyReader gives her the freedom to not have to carry extra devices. She is now reading books, written materials, and food labels in real-time.