Andy Strelczyk is a diabetic, double amputee and blind due to several health issues. With the skills he learned from the Association Andy now navigates with the help of a walker, sighted guides and mobility skills.
Vision loss has been one of Andy’s biggest challenges, but he chooses to rise to the occasion by managing his diabetes and helping others through his story.Andy says he’ll never forget the day he lost his right eye after more than 200 wasp stings to his face. While gardening eight years ago Andy fell into a nest of ground wasps. He would have died if it wasn’t for his neighbor using her EpiPens!
It might seem easy for Andy to get overwhelmed by all of the health challenges he faces every day. He’s a double below-knee amputee; he’s had four strokes in seven years and takes a total of 22 medications. He’s also completely blind now. He lost the sight in his left eye and both of his legs from Type 2 diabetes.
Andy says; “I remember when the Association came into my life back in 2008. An on-staff social worker, Emilie Meadows, visited me in my home. After many orientation and mobility sessions with Glenn Gunn, I was able to move safely around my apartment and yard. Then Denise Caruso trained me to use magnification devices, and Kathie Turner marked my appliances so I could work safely in the kitchen.”
“Honestly, I’m glad to be where I am! I’m alive, I can communicate, and I’be able to get around. I was fortunate to have my sight for most of my life. I had a successful career, and I traveled the world. I remember it all – maybe even more vividly than before.”
“I believe that, regardless of the challenges each of us face, it’s important to do what you can. My main goals for the near future are to continue orientation and mobility training with David Trzaska, in preparation for a guide dog, and to find a part-time job.
“For me, another challenge is another exciting opportunity. I could be discouraged and frustrated, but I’ve learned to accept help from others because it’s important that I take it. That’s why I rely on the Association.