Beyond Blind Institute is an integral part of my life
by Richard Incandela
In February of 2011, I was involved in a near-fatal automobile accident, which impaired me in many ways. I suffered a traumatic brain injury, the loss of two fingers, and the loss of my vision as a result of the accident. It was catastrophic to me physically and emotionally, and it rocked my world. All of these losses made my world seem bleak and depressing. It was very difficult for me to try to navigate my new world without my vision.
After months of rehabilitation, I went to see my eye doctor, Dr. Moshfeghi, who suggested I might want to contact the Beyond Blind Institute to find out about their programs. I did so and I am surely grateful that I did. During my first phone conversations with Joyce Gugel, the founder and president of BBI, she very excitedly instructed me to come to their fitness class and give it a whirl! I am so glad that I did! Since beginning that program, my fitness level and knowledge of nutrition had greatly increased – and I’ve made wonderful friendships with the other members. Since then, I have had the great pleasure of being part of the Sightless Chef program, as well as the Brushes of Blindness experience. I especially love the culinary program and have learned many techniques and methods of food preparation. I look forward to the day when we may be able to start our own catering business using our new found skills. These programs have given me a bit of insight into what my life can be like in the future. I have gained enthusiasm and some purpose to my days. I am also looking forward to our Blind Shot golf program, since I was a golfer prior to my accident. Beyond Blind Institute has shown me that I can still participate in activities such as these and have a full life.
Joyce Gugel is an amazing woman! It’s very difficult to put into words how enthusiastic and electric she is! Every time that I speak with her on the phone (which is often!), I feel energized and focused. It’s hard to imagine what she sleeps at all considering all she gets once in a day! When Joyce says that she will do something, I know for a fact that it will get done – even if it seems impossible! That’s a great role model for me! She is an incredibly posit inspiration in my life!
I am so thankful to be a part of BBI as it has become an integral part of my life.