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For most of his life, David Life had better than 20/20 vision. Despite the fact that his mother had rod-cone dystrophy, an optometrist actually told him that he was more likely to be struck by lightning than to inherit his mother’s eye condition. However, when David was in his mid-thirties, he started noticing some changes.
It began with trouble reading printed material; then driving became an issue, especially when transitioning from sunlight to more shaded areas of the road. Roughly four years ago, David was forced to stop driving at night and paid a visit to his optometrist to see if he needed glasses.
David was shocked to hear that not only did he inherit his mother’s condition, but was already legally blind, with a visual acuity of about 20/300. The doctor told him that he had to find a new profession that he was capable of doing. This was terribly disheartening to David, given that he owned his own custom cabinet and countertop business since 2002.
Not only did David own his own business, he was the sole employee in charge of designing, building, spraying and installing kitchens, countertops and any number of other custom cabinets from entertainment centers to commercial casework. The diagnosis along with the “advice” from his optometrist caused him to call everything he knew into question.
It was around this time that a friend encouraged him to get a second opinion. David visited a retina specialist confirmed the diagnosis was correct, but also encouraged him to continue doing as much as possible in the shop. His encouragement, along with a visit to the Kentucky Department for the Blind, prompted David to dive back into the business again.
David was equipped with the tools that could help him continue the day-to-day operation of running a business. He was given high powered flashlights, a talking tape measure, a CCTV, a new computer outfitted with ZoomText, and even a piece of software for designing cabinetry that allowed him to print 3D pictures of cabinetry. This way he can give his customers an idea of what the finished product will look like.
“I use ZoomText on my desktop computer for work and home. I can’t tell you how much I count on it every day. I also use ZoomContacts on my iPad and ZoomReader on my iPhone. A few months ago, I was in a meeting and was handed a letter from the head of a construction company I was doing work for. I was a bit frustrated that I could not open it and read it in the meeting, but as I walked to the job site, I ducked into a stairwell and was able to read the entire letter using my iPhone with ZoomReader. I can’t tell you how thankful I was to be able to do this task in the field and not have to wonder what the letter said until I got back to my office which was an hour away.”
With the help of such instrumental tools, David is able to continue running a business and providing for his family.
“I must say that my family has greatly pulled up the slack and helped me with tasks I can no longer do. My wife drives me everywhere and helps in the shop with all finish work including staining, painting and finishing cabinetry. My oldest daughter helps in the office and my oldest son now installs and works alongside me doing just about everything I do. Not to be left out, the youngest three do their part in the shop with different tasks on a regular basis.”
It is obviously a family business in the truest sense of the word. When David isn’t busy in the shop, you might find him working in his family’s farm gardening or tending to the horses. In his down time, he enjoys hiking, fishing, kayaking, camping, playing guitar, reading, and spending time with his family.
David is an inspiration to us all!