Meet Elva Hasselfeldt, CNIB client

My name is Elva Hasselfeldt, and I’m ninety-nine years old. My, I, my vision loss is caused by macular deterioration and glaucoma. When the doctor first told me that I had um, vision problems I really didn’t take it very well because my, my livelihood, everything concerned my, my sight. And I was, that was where I, I, had, it was quite a jolt to me. The first challenge was my teaching process because I couldn’t teach the colours. I was, uh, had problems with the colours. And so I had cease teaching because couldn`t tell. I learned that I had to rely on other people a great deal. I really had to learn to, to, to ask for help. And that’s when I started coming out to the CNIB. Leanne was one of the first friends that I met after I became blind. After I really needed somebody. And she had subsequently go to the art gallery. She’s the one that invited me. I get so much joy from the arts. It’s what I depend on to keep me going. Art has been the main spring of my life. I’m looking at art in a different way now. I just had the visual sense before. And now I have the sense with, because I have to feel the things I’m getting them from a different point of view. Learning new techniques, I started being more interested in textile. Feeling, understanding what it was. And going from there. It was a turning point when I got the phone call inviting me to go down to the art gallery. And that it would be somebody down there, that would take me by the hand and go, let me go through the art gallery and explain what I was seeing to them and what, it was a wonderful experience. It truly was. And when I couldn’t see the pictures, I could feel them. They put gloves on my hands and I took up a Rodin. And I could feel it. I could feel the contours of the sculpture. That was wonderful. Touching the Rodin was seeing Rodin whom I admire so much anyhow, a different dimension altogether. I saw the work. I saw the veins in the hands. I saw the sculpture, the intensity of his work so much better by being blind and feeling it. I felt it. The CNIB has extended my life. It truly has and then once I started going back down to the art gallery, I started to live again.

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