Yesterday we had the pleasure of participating in Hackensack Meridian Health’s Mitchell-Vassar Vision Awareness Day held at the Grand Marquis in Old Bridge. Dr. Stacy Doumas and keynote speaker Jennifer Rothschild captivated the audience with stories of inspiration and emotional harmony.
Dr. Dumas discussed “Emotional Harmony” citing various techniques to ensure that our emotions are in agreement–to secure emotional stability as we go through our daily lives. She spoke about a simple concept that is often forgotten: We have the power to change how we react to behavior. It is in our hands. Don’t be overwhelmed, know you have the strength to get through the anxiety and difficult times, even if you wind up “sitting” in that difficult, uncomfortable space for longer than you had intended. Know that you can take the time, adapt, develop a resilience, talk to people, keep perspective and, most importantly, keep a positive outlook always. As Dr. Dumas reminded us: “Tough times don’t last, tough people do.”
Jennifer Rothschild, at the young age of 15 was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative retina condition which ultimately leads to complete blindness. In Rothschild’s words “light was replaced with darkness.” Through her story we saw that this was indeed a devastating diagnosis, but she chose to change her perspective. She shared that her condition did not define her, but, rather refined her path for the rest of her life. She turned to new outlets, experiences, and challenges to express herself living each day beyond her limits. She took on challenges and fought against doubt. She chose to make blindness her ally. Throughout her engaging discussion Rothschild explained that you can be the boss, your self-imposed disability DOES NOT define you, it actually helps you to grow. The key is trading fear for faith/flight. And, above all else always say, and believe, “I Can!” This positive perspective has allowed Rothschild to enjoy a rich life filled with personal as well as professional accomplishments and has been a great source of inspiration for those who received her very poignant message.
So grateful to The Mitchell-Vassar Bright Future Legacy and all the organizers at Hackensack Meridian Health who made this very special and educational day possible. The event, in loving memory of Janice Mitchell-Vassar, provided a poignant pep-talk for all attendees.