Alejandra Sanchez is a 47-year-old mother of four from McAllen, TX. Born in Mexico, Alejandra moved to the US with her husband when their first two children were babies. They wanted the safety of the US for their young family.
When her third child was born, Alejandra began noticing changes in her senses. She lost her sense of smell altogether and was starting to notice changes in her vision. Eventually it was discovered that the cause of her troubles was a brain tumor. After surgery to remove the tumor, Alejandra was left with no vision at all in her right eye and only peripheral vision in her left eye.
Instead of feeling sorry for herself because of her vision loss, Alejandra was just so very grateful that she survived the tumor and the surgery. She calls this opportunity to live through this tough time her very own miracle.
After learning that her vision would be permanently impaired, Alejandra’s family stepped up to support her. She also reached out to a friend and former neighbor of her husband’s who is also visually impaired. This friend worked as a vision rehab counselor, so she introduced Alejandra to a whole new world.
Alejandra learned how to use a white cane and new ways to do things in her daily life. She joined the local chapter of the National Federation for the Blind (NFB) and learned of Hadley through them. She was encouraged to contact Hadley to learn braille, so she did.
"I LOVE the Hadley workshops!" Alejandra exclaimed. "I am learning braille and many more things. Crafting, for instance. I can do that again now!" Alejandra is active with Hadley’s monthly call-in discussion groups as well. "My favorite work with Hadley is braille, though. It’s something I can control. I touch it and I feel like a little kid again learning to read."
She’s learned new ways to approach cooking with vision loss and has helped Hadley get the word out about our cooking workshops in Spanish.
Alejandra has risen the ranks of her local NFB and now serves as the chapter president. She is understandably quite proud of the work she is doing with that organization. She is focusing her work with NFB on helping older adults with vision loss learn braille and how to use technology. And Hadley’s workshops are helping her do just that.
As she looks to the future, Alejandra is considering following in her friend’s footsteps and becoming a vision rehab counselor herself. "This has been so helpful for me, and I want to share my knowledge with others now. I want people to know that vision loss is not the end of your life. You are the same person. You just need to learn a few new skills. And if I can do it, you can too. You’re not alone."
Alejandra has taken well over 100 workshops with Hadley and is among the first to complete our Braille for Everyday Use series. Her involvement with Hadley and her help in reviewing our Cooking tutorials in Spanish lead to her nomination for a Hadley Hero award.