Meet Our Family: Mary Zabelski
Mary Zabelski: My name is Mary Zabelski. I’m the parent of an adult blind daughter with retinoblastoma. My daughter was born a typical, normal healthy little girl, but I found out when she was 16 months old, that she had a life-threatening eye condition called retinoblastoma, tumors on the retinas of her eyes, very close to the optic nerve, which is very close to the brain. She had to have one of her eyes removed immediately.
Within three years, she lost the sight in her remaining eye. I was in a state of shock for, I think, for months. I just didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what kind of life she would have. I realized I had to connect with, not just the school district, but I had to find other parents because I didn’t have anybody to talk to. I had no relatives or friends who had a child who was blind or visually impaired.
By talking to other parents from all over the country, I found so many useful tips. And as my daughter progressed through school, she did really well. She learned braille. She was a bright student. She learned mobility with a cane. And everything she did surprised me. She got out of high school and went to college, and by the way, she graduated from Harvard.
It’s extremely important that parents who have children who are blind and visually impaired connect with each other. We can share so much information, and we can get so much information from other people.
Narrator: FamilyConnect, familyconnect.org