The day the lights went out – “How Beyond Blind Institute saved my life!”
by John Crossly

“I just want to say that Joyce Gugel is the most amazing person I have ever met. She is positively an inspiration to all who come in contact with her and literally changes lives. Joyce and her organization have given my son his life back and for that, I am eternally grateful. I hope that you will all find out for yourself. Thank you, Joyce, from the bottom of my heart.”  ~ Elaine Crossly

John Crossly, BBI memberMy name is John Crossly. I was born on Easter Sunday, April 3rd, 1983 to my mother Elaine in the bustling town of Burnley, England in room 2010 of Burnley General. For the first 11 years of my life, I was raised with my mother, my father, Nigel, and my sister, Heather in the town of Accrington until my mum won 4 chances to emigrate to Florida. After graduating from High School in 2001, I attended college and earned my certification in emergency medicine while working at a breakfast and lunch diner. After completing the EMT program, I began culinary school. As fate would have it, 7 months into the program I got a large blood clot in my lung. The doctors doing what they had to do, broke up the clot, sending small particles throughout my body. Once awakened from the medically induced coma, I learned that I had a stroke and was experiencing weakness on my left side along with kidney failure. The biggest shock  after regaining consciousness was my loss of vision! After rehab and returning home, I went to my bed, and that’s where I stayed. Falling into a deep depression and feeling hopeless about my future. What do I do now? What can I do now? So it went for 2 1/2 years until a powerful, courageous, awe-inspiring and selfless woman named Joyce Gugel came into my life like an F-5 tornado, named Beyond Blind, which turned everything upside-down again, this time for the better.

Late November, I was introduced to Joyce through my Attorney and my days have become a whirlwind of activities. One of my new favorites, surprisingly, has become golf. The course seems very nice, all the volunteers and the coach are friendly and knowledgable. Still new at the sport, I have a long way to go before I’m ready to go on tour, but I seem to be picking it up. The “driver” is my favorite club from the bunch; I love the sound the ball makes as it kisses the club. “PING!” then soars through the air. I am also participating in the “Sightless Chef” program and am very excited to get back into the kitchen and work on my knife skills again. The new kitchen at Whole Foods sounds amazing! The Loggerhead Fitness gym is also surprisingly fun. Grace gets the heart pumping and the workout is good as well. I am also excited about the upcoming art program; I hope I can make the picture in my head look halfway decent on the paper.

Joyce Gugel is a God-send for all she has done for me and the other members of the Beyond Blind Institute. Her passion and drive is infectious. “BBI” is a great organization giving hope, pride and purpose to the blind and partially sighted members of the community, and eventually nationwide. Life isn’t over because you can’t see, it’s just the beginning when you are living beyond blind.

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