'I wanted to rejoin life' says N.S. man who lost eyesight to diabetes
MEMBERTOU FIRST NATION, N.S. -- Many of us might not think twice about something as simple as a walk to the office cubicle, but it's something Eric Bond won't be taking for granted after losing his eyesight put him at risk of losing the career he loves.
"It was something completely brand new, trying to learn to live without sight," Bond said. "So, I guess the best way that I could put it is that I felt completely lost."
The 38-year-old lives with diabetes. In 2016, he suffered a complication known as DKA that left him totally blind.
He was on leave for about a year-and-a-half from his job at the consulting company Hatch, where he works as a civil designer.
During that time, he had to re-learn how to do simple tasks, like cooking and even dressing himself.
"I wanted to get back to work," Bond said. "I wanted to rejoin life."
Given much of his job requires looking at complex drawings and designs, that wouldn't be easy.
He got in touch with the Canadian National Institute of the Blind (CNIB), which introduced him to JAWS, or the Job Access With Speech program.
It's software that speaks to him, but being welcomed back by clients and colleagues helped just as much in returning to the work he loves.
"I was always afraid that I was going to meet brick walls," Bond said. "You know, you hear all the stories of disabled people coming back to the workforce. You hear the horror stories, like peoples' opinions. 'Oh, you can't do that,' but I honestly have not seen one brick wall in my road to recovery."
Louise Gillis is national president for the Canadian Council of the Blind.
She says a story like Bond's can be of benefit to others like him, and to employers.
"They will say, 'there's hope for me out there yet,' and there is," Gillis said. "They can contact us in different places to find out what is available."
Bond says there is a way forward through determination, technology, and a little kindness.
"If you have a want or the need to get out there and rejoin life, you can do it, and there are people out there to help you, too," Bond said.