Doctor becomes fundraising knight

Eye Conditions
August 22, 2019

Dr. Mary, who lives with bilateral optic neuritis, has raised $14,000 to give the gift of sight

Dr. Mary and her beloved dog Lucy, have already raised $14,000 to help purchase eSight devices for the visually impaired. But she won’t stop there. The fundraising maven is on a mission to provide the gift of sight to as many people as possible. Dr. Mary knows all too well the value of sight. Mary received a bilateral optic neuritis diagnosis as a fourth-year medical student.

“I had recurring episodes, and each subsequent episode led to further deterioration of my vision,” shares Dr. Mary of her optic neuritis. “My loss of depth perception, ongoing blurred vision and areas of visual field loss finally led me to the decision to let go of my dream of being a doctor for the safety of my patients.”

Dr. Mary was determined legally blind in 2003. 

“Not practicing medicine was devastating and completely changed the future I had seen for myself —my whole life was completely turned upside-down.”

Watch Dr. Mary skydive with the Army Golden Knights

Furry Best Friend

The high-performing North Carolina resident found a new path. She enrolled in the North Carolina Vocational School for the Blind, where she learned Braille, assistive technology and daily living skills. That’s also when she obtained a guide dog from the Leader Dogs for the Blind named Lucy. The pair are still together after nine years. 

“I would not be as mobile, confident or free to enjoy the life I do have without her.”

On April 2018, Dr. Mary tried on a pair of eSight electronic glasses at the NC Lions MD 31 State Convention. There, she was able to see the faces of her young nieces and nephews since her optic neuritis diagnosis, and Lucy, for the first time ever

“There are no words to describe how I felt when I saw the face of my beloved family and friends and the beautiful, soulful eyes of Lucy for the first time! My heart has been flowing over since that moment, and my mind has been exploding with the potential the future holds.”

Kindness Has No Borders

Dr. Mary began a fundraising campaign and, on June 8, 2018, received her eSight 3 visual aid thanks to support from family, friends and even strangers who made donations from around the world.

She is now on a self-described mission to share the gift of sight with as many visually impaired individuals as she can.

“Many have asked if I will return to practicing medicine. My answer – I am bringing new life to those who are visually impaired by sharing the gift of sight.”

Living Helen Keller’s Words

Dr. Mary continues to volunteer at the Lions Club International and is halfway to reaching her ambitious $30,000 goal.

“I will continue my volunteer work as a member of the Lions Club International doing what Helen Keller asked the Lions to do — be Knights for the Blind.”

Click to support Dr. Mary’s fundraising journey

Did you like Dr. Mary’s story? Read more about how this young blind woman became a coder.