New world opens for Suzanne

A CARE home is opening up a whole new world for a blind resident.

Suzanne Lewis completely lost her sight more than 10 years ago, but, for a number of reasons, had never learnt to read Braille.

When Gerry Humphreys, the Activities Officer at Wrexham-based Pendine Park, found out, she set about putting it right and now Suzanne is taking Braille classes every week.

“It will open up a lot of doors for Suzanne and help make her a lot more independent,” said Gerry.

Thirty-two year old Suzanne arrived at the Pendine Park’s Highfield care home about six months ago, one of two homes owned by Pendine which provides 24 hour nursing care, along with respite and day care, for adults of all ages.

“I am being assessed to see if I can live in a flat or bungalow on my own with carers coming in regularly,” said Suzanne.

She was born in Prestatyn, but moved to Yorkshire with her mother and step-father and twin sister Joanne, when she was 14.

Suzanne, who has spina bifida and has to use a wheelchair, had to endure countless trips to hospital for various operations and says pressure on her brain caused her eyesight to start failing.

“I lost my sight completely in 2001, it was pretty devastating, I didn’t cope too well at first, always bumping into things. I couldn’t see to cut up my own food. Now I just take every day as it comes.”

While living in Yorkshire she was meant to take Braille lessons, but says the tutor “never turned up” and so she missed the opportunity to learn.

But with sister Joanne having returned to North Wales, along with her brother, and father, uncles and aunts in North Wales, Suzanne realised more than anything else she wanted to return home to her family.

About six months ago a place became available at Highfield and her wish was granted.

“It’s great here, everyone is friendly and they all talk to you, even if I get a flat I hope I can come back here sometimes,” said Suzanne.

Gerry added: “When Suzanne said she had never had the opportunity to learn Braille I thought ‘right we can do something about that’ so I looked around and found a local centre where I could take Suzanne to learn Braille.

“We go every Tuesday morning for lessons with Keith Brown at Vision Support. It seems very difficult but she has been wonderful and can already identify about seven letters.”

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