I was born in Pittsburgh and raised in Jeannette, Pennsylvania. My eyesight was excellent as a small child, but when I was 9 years old, I sustained a serious injury when I fell off an elevated porch and landed face down on the concrete below. I was rushed to the hospital where by eyes remained swollen shut for about two weeks. My sight slowly deteriorated after that incident.
Eventually I married and had two children. In 1996, my husband Bob and I moved to Hawaii where we lived in Wahiawa, on the island of Oahu. I was working for the state assisting the disabled as an Assistive Technologist. While living in Hawaii, I finally received my first guide dog. At this point, my eyesight had deteriorated to the point where I could only see shadows, shapes and motions.