Imagine living the first 16 years of your life being able to see colours, shapes and all of nature’s splendour, only to have your vision fade into darkness. It’s a difficult reality for anyone to manage—yet one that Florence, a resident of Chartwell Robert Speck in Mississauga, Ontario, faced with strength, perseverance and a positivity the likes of which few possess.
Instead of giving up once she lost her sight, Florence powered on, receiving assistance from the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, a non-profit organization that assists and educates people regarding rehabilitation associated with vision loss. Florence learned how to do everything she had previously known, but now without her eye sight. Florence learned how to live her best life and was even given the opportunity to pay it forward by assisting others in similar situations to learn how to read braille.
Over the years, Florence has done phenomenal work for the CNIB, helping countless individuals overcome their visual impairments and championing the organization’s vision to change what it is to be blind in today’s society. Her achievements have been so significant that she decided to share her story with the world.
With the help of the CNIB, Florence wrote an inspiring book, Dare to Dream, which was recently published to celebrate the non-profit organization’s 100th anniversary. When staff at Chartwell Robert Speck learned of Florence’s achievement, they decided to host an official book launch at the retirement community through our Moments That Matter program.
“We were so proud of Florence and knew we had to celebrate her in a big way. The response to her book launch was absolutely amazing,” says Colin Fenwick, Lifestyle and Programs Manager at Chartwell Robert Speck. “Attendees filled up the entire dining room, and by the end of the event we’d sold out of copies of her book.”
Attendees of the book launch included Florence’s two grandsons, Scott and Andrew, her closest friends Sue (CNIB) and Marion, her fellow residents, Chartwell staff and other representatives from the CNIB.
“It was a truly inspiring event as Florence’s family and friends shared kind words of acknowledgement,” continues Colin. “Everyone in the room was so moved by her inspiring story. There wasn’t a dry eye in the audience!”
To cap things off, Chartwell Robert Speck’s management recognized Florence with a lovely bouquet of flowers and a customized braille card of congratulations, thanking her for her years of service to people living with vision loss.
Dare to Dream is available for online purchase in large print, braille and audio book formats, with all proceeds going directly to the CNIB.
Chartwell’s Moments That Matter program was created to enrich the lives of our residents by enabling them to accomplish their dreams and participate in activities that make them happier, healthier and more engaged in their community. To learn more about our Moments that Matter program, click here.