JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -
Assisting about 200 patients a year with State and Federal Funds, the Addie McBryde Center focuses on helping those with little to no eyesight by giving them a chance to re-learn life's everyday tasks from cooking to making the bed.
"They do recipes, they do safety in the kitchen," said Rosie Gibson, the center's director. "Imagine, you've got heat and you don't know where it's coming from. It's frightening! But we've got to get you past that because you have to provide food for yourself and a lot of times food for your family."
While some are born without the ability to see, Others like Jerry McGilberry tell MSNewsNow it's like starting all over. McGilberry, who is a pastor, former surgical technologist, and biomedical engineer, lost his sight only a year and seven months ago. He says he was leaving church when a car pulled out in front of him.
"After three operations in Hattiesburg and one at UAB in Alabama, I got everything under control," McGilberry said. "But the blood vessels supplying my eyes was destroyed."
McGilberry says one of the biggest challenges he's faced, after going blind, is regaining his freedoms while, also, learning how to be dependent on others.
"It's a lot of adjustment," added McGilberry. "Not being able to do what you want to do. You want to go to Walmart, (but) someone has to drive you."
Rejoining the workforce can be even harder, but those at the center will tell you it's not impossible and like McGilberry many even become inspired to go back to school.
"About 40 percent of our staff is either blind or visually impaired," added Gibson. "That's a plus for us, because if there is a way to do something they've already found a workaround if something doesn't exactly work, especially with technology."