Wendy Spencer Davis: Adjusting & Thriving

Wendy and her daughter, Ahngelique

By the time Wendy Spencer Davis turned 16, she had lived in New York City; Long Island, NY; Mobile, AL; and Philadelphia, PA. Throughout her moves, one thing she learned, Wendy recalls, is to “adjust, adjust, adjust.” This lesson from her youth continues to serve her well.

In addition to adjusting, Wendy threw herself into activities that gave her joy. From marching band and choir, to cheerleading, Wendy was an active and talented student. In fact, coming out of high school, she was even invited to join the Philadelphia Eagles cheerleading squad.

Wendy met her husband of 48 years when they were both at Virginia State College. She went on to teach health and physical education in the public school system in Philadelphia for 41 years. There, Wendy loved mentoring and coaching students as well as putting on performances.

In 2016, that all changed. A stray soccer ball slammed into her. It hit Wendy directly in the face, throwing her head up against a wall. "The doctor looked at my eyes and said, ‘A Mack truck must have hit you!'" Over time, her vision faded.

An assistant principal told Wendy he would find help for her. Someone from the New Jersey Commission for the Blind came to the school and worked with her.

"I was, at first, ashamed because I thought I was going to be weak. I couldn't do what I needed to do. But then he reminded me that all I needed was a little bit of help and a support team, and everything would be fine."

At the same time, however, one of Wendy’s daughters approached her with another reality. "Mommy, Daddy's not well. You need to retire," was the news.

So Wendy did retire to care for her husband and later her daughter who was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Both have since passed away; her "angels in the outfield," as Wendy likes to call them.

Through it all, Wendy kept adjusting and learning. She took classes on how to use an iPhone, even if she couldn’t see the screen too well anymore. In fact, it was from a call to the accessibility team at Apple that Wendy first heard about Hadley. Wendy’s daughter helped her sign up, and she hasn’t looked back since.

"I have really attached myself to everything that Hadley is offering," Wendy tells us. "I’ve learned the iPhone. I’ve signed up for all the discussion groups. And now I’m learning braille. I'm amazed at my own progress. I realized that good teachers are good students, and I want to learn."

For those people who are new to vision loss, Wendy has some advice. "You need to grieve the loss of your sight. Then, you must decide, 'I can do this.’ Then, just don’t give up. Tell yourself over and over again that you can do it. And the Hadley people are there to help you and encourage you along the way," Wendy advises.

Wendy is part of Hadley’s Peer-to-Peer program and was also featured on our Hadley Presents podcast. For all her contributions to the Hadley community, Wendy was named a Hadley HERO.

Thank you, Wendy!