By Iacopo Luzi
Maureen Reid, 44, lost her vision when she was 27 because of type 1 diabetes.
Today she works as a job placement counselor at the Chicago Lighthouse, a non-profit organization that assists visually impaired people all over the country.
She agreed to be followed by Medill Reports during the month of May. This photo essay shows how Reid lives a full life.
44-year-old Maureen Reid is blind. She lost her vision when she was 27 years old because of diabetes complications. Today she works at the Chicago Lighthouse, a non-profit that helps and assists visually impaired people. She is a job placement counselor. (Iacopo Luzi/ MEDILL REPORTS)
Gaston is Maureen’s best friend. He is a 19 month old Labrador. They spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week together. They came together two months ago and the dog still has a lot to learn about Maureen and her habits. (Iacopo Luzi/ MEDILL REPORTS)
“I have a mental map inside my mind to figure out where I have to go and where I am. Even though my hearing is not excellent, I pay attention to all the sounds around me. And when I don’t know where I am, I can always ask someone,” says Maureen Reid. (Iacopo Luzi/ MEDILL REPORTS)
Maureen is married to Tom. They met each other on a dating website. “Our first date was a blind date in every way,” says Maureen laughing. During the weekend, Maureen and Tom go to Jewel Osco for their weekly grocery shopping. (Iacopo Luzi/MEDILL REPORTS)
“My hands are my new eyes. With them I can perceive everything around me and understand where I am and what I am doing. I always prefer to use them because I can feel what I touch. I hate when people try to help me holding them. I know that they want to be kind with me but I’m feeling like I lose control of myself,” says Maureen Reid. (Iacopo Luzi/ MEDILL REPORTS)
Maureen and Tom go out for Trivia night every Monday. One of the games requires recognizing faces of famous people. Tom describes every face to Maureen and she is able to tell him who they are. They often win the Trivia game. (Iacopo Luzi/MEDILL REPORTS)
Maureen likes to knit. On Sundays she goes to a knitting club hosted in a coffeehouse at Loyola. “It relaxes me and it’s also a good moment for little talks with my friends”, says Maureen Reid. (Iacopo Luzi/ MEDILL REPORTS)
“Even though I lost my vision, I decided to live my life as much as I could. I didn’t want to stay just at home crying for my condition. Obviously, sometimes it is tough, but being blind motivated me to go out from my comfort zone and change my life. In the end, It’s never over, if you don’t want! ”, says Maureen Reid. (Iacopo Luzi/ MEDILL REPORTS)
Photo on top: Maureen together with her dog Gaston on the CTA (Iacopo Luzi/MedillReports)