Your game plan may change. Make a new one and follow it.
Randall Tibbett, 60, of Sapulpa, is a proud, lifelong resident of Oklahoma. The son of a butcher, Randall studied electronics in trade school while working in a local grocery store alongside his father. Upon completing his training and receiving his certification in electronics, Randall landed his dream job with a refinery in nearby Tulsa, where he spent the next 28 years overseeing special projects and assignments across the state. "I truly loved my job and never dreamt about doing anything else or leaving Oklahoma," Randall reflected.
In 2017, Randall was working on a training program for new employees, when he noticed his vision was becoming blurry. As part of his job with the refinery, Randall was required to take an annual physical, where he was eventually diagnosed with glaucoma. "After that, my vision loss went pretty quick," said Randall. "My employer did a lot to accommodate my condition, but I made the decision to retire as my ability to do even the simple daily aspects of my job got nearly impossible."
In hindsight, Randall suspected the early signs of glaucoma were present all along. For most of his life, he wore glasses, never seeming to find the right prescription. "I went through every phase of emotions following my decision to retire, I was in denial, went through a period of anger, and then finally acceptance." Randall also had to give up his passion for landscaping, which he said was more than a weekend hobby, it became a form of expression for him, an outlet for his creative side.
Randall went on disability, and after more than 30 years of working and planning for retirement, he wasn't worried about finances. "I always thought that I would keep working if I wanted to, but my vision loss changed my whole game plan, what bothered me most was the uncertainty of everything, I had my life all planned out and felt I lost my options."
Over the next year, Randall experienced a revelation, realizing that the past was the past. "You got to keep moving forward and focus on what you can do, not what you can't," said Randall, who found support through his church and later enrolled in a vision and mobility rehab program through the Oklahoma Department of Health. He learned about Hadley through his state caseworker.
"There are so many categories to choose from at Hadley, I didn't know where to start. I began with the technology classes for my iPad and learned what a valuable tool it could be for someone like me." Randall has since taken over 70 workshops and participates in Hadley's call-in discussion groups on cooking, technology, and even gardening. "And I am not done yet," exclaimed Randall.
For his determination and exemplifying Hadley's mission to empower adults with vision loss to thrive - at home, at work, and in their communities, Randall was recently named a recipient of Hadley's HEROES Award.
For others who are experiencing vision loss, Randall is quick to tell them, "Don't give up, focus on what lies ahead and your abilities, not your disabilities. Your game plan may change. Make a new one and follow it."