Ellen’s Story

Image of Ellen smiling

My name is Ellen. I thought a surgery and corrective lenses would fix my vision. My story does not end that way. I will be visually impaired for life. Here is how Outlook Enrichment helped me come to terms with my vision loss—all with your support

Last year, during a normal October day at the office, a shadow developed in the corner of my left eye. I kept rubbing my cheek because I thought something was on it. Within hours, a black curtain had descended over my entire eye, and I knew something on my face was not the problem. Hearing my description of my experience, my eye doctor wanted to see me immediately.

After taking photos of my eye, he found a retinal detachment and scheduled me for surgery four days later. I was scared. I felt alone. My independence, my job and my way of life seemed to hang in the balance. Because of generous people like you, I found the support I needed through Outlook Enrichment

Before my retinal detachment, I lived a care-free life. I went out with friends and did not have to think about the places I visited. Work was comfortable, just a part of my routine. After my detachment, I found myself more hesitant to leave the house. I felt unsure about how I would stay employed. It took me a while to start driving again; I had to learn how to do it differently. I still do not drive at night.  

Now, after two surgeries on my left eye, I am grateful for my remaining vision. And I’m thankful to generous donors like you, who helped me find support when I needed it most through Outlook Enrichment

After learning about Outlook Enrichment through a friend, I connected with people who understood my situation. Visiting Outlook gave me hope and comfort. My manager gained some insight into my situation, and I could articulate the tools I needed to maintain my productivity. I realized I was not broken because I asked for help. 

Your gift allows Outlook Enrichment to help people like me when their vision suddenly fails them. Through the first Outlook peer support group, I met others in the community with similar experiences. I learned some useful magnification tips for the computer and found comfort in listening hearts. I feel more like myself again; vision loss is just a part of me now.

My story is not finished. I continue to heal and find my way through my vision loss journey. And I know Outlook Enrichment will be there through it all because of your generous gifts

Your contribution to Outlook Enrichment will give others like me the tools and support they need to continue living their lives with vision loss. Because of the peer support groups and encouragement from the Outlook team, I still feel strong and independent

Help people with limited vision reclaim their identity and grow their confidence like I did. Help them increase their self-sufficiency, explore new experiences and do what most people take for granted. The accessible art programs, technology training and recreational activities for all ages are not sustainable without community support. Those of us living with vision loss depend on people like you to keep those doors of opportunity open

Severe vision loss affects over 15,000 people in our metro area—enough to fill the CHI Center Arena—and interferes with daily living activities and employment. This population will more than double because of the prevalence of diabetes and our aging population. Your donation helps our neighbors living with vision loss and blindness live life independently, confidently engage in their communities, and continue to do the things they love through Outlook Enrichment’s programs. 

  • Your gift of $100 provides two hours of adaptive technology training. 
  • Your gift of $250 lets those with low vision try cutting-edge digital eyewear to make their work and play time easier. 
  • Your gift of $500 covers an audio describer so people like me can enjoy local performing arts experiences. 
  • Your gift of $20 a month for one year—just $240—allows three visually impaired teens to participate in recreational activities like scuba diving, zip-lining or tandem biking. 

Your contribution to Outlook Enrichment of any amount positively impacts someone who is—or will become—visually impaired. Please help Outlook Enrichment by donating to sustain these programs in our community


Ellen Maschka

P.S. My vision loss scared me because I thought I would lose my independence, my job and my identity. Because of Outlook Enrichment's programs, I am learning to live the life I had before vision loss in a different way. You or someone you love could experience vision loss. Help ensure the resources they need will be there when it happens. Donate to Outlook Enrichment today. 

Double the impact of your gift to Outlook!

A generous donor has offered Outlook a matching challenge grant of up to $40,000 on all gifts that exceed the donor’s prior year giving.

Whether you’re a new donor, regular donor or past donor, you can double the hours of programs and services your gift provides people in our community who live with vision loss.

Employers are donors, too! Be sure to submit your donation to your employer’s matching program to 
quadruple your impact!

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