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The Deer Park Community

Son's challenges spark Hutcherson's passion for braille

Written by Bobby Vasquez. Posted in Community

DPRotaryLogoIN OUR COMMUNITY
Soon after Cheri Hutcherson and her family welcomed their son Will into the world, they learned their lives would change in ways they could never imagine. Through Will’s blindness, Hutcherson and her family have learned to see life’s lessons from a new perspective. His challenges have led the family to become active advocates for the National Braille Press.

Cheri Hutcherson’s life changed in ways she would have never imagined with the arrival of her son Dec. 28, 2010. At a recent Deer Park Rotary Club meeting, she talked about those challenges and lessons that have sparked new passions.

“I became a mother for the second time to a beautiful baby boy. My son was born completely blind,” she said.

Will, her son, was born with a condition septic-optic dysplasia, a type of deformity affecting the midline of the brain.

Through her family, faith and friends, Hutcherson said she felt like there was a support system in place to help raise her son will. However, her concerns grew when she realized she had not met, much less befriended, another blind person.

Hutcherson began researching the blind community, its resources and enrolled Will in early childhood education.

“We are visual learners and when a child learns to sit so that they can see more. When kids crawl, it’s because they see something they want,” Hutcherson said. Hutcherson and her family helped Will learn to do sit and crawl despite not he not having the visual incentive to do so.

As Will is growing and experiencing the world, he is also learning to read using braille, a tactile writing system for the blind or visually impaired.

Still, Hutcherson and her family were missing a personal connection.

“To have a peer that I could ask questions, bounce things off of,” she said. “What is Will’s future? What do blind people do for a living?”

Hutcherson came across the Eric Weihenmayer, a blind adventurer who has climbed Mt. Everest and conquered some of the most difficult whitewater courses. She learned he was speaking at the National Braille Press Gala in Boston.

Meeting Weihenmayer and attending the gala not only established a personal connection, it helped Hutcherson see the success of other blind persons.

The National Braille Press promotes literacy for blind children and provides access to information in braille for children and adults. It is the premier braille publisher in the US specializing in producing original braille works written by blind authors expressly for blind people.

“Braille is really expensive to produce. It’s embossed on paper. It’s not like putting ink on paper,” she said. “The National Braille Press believes no one should have to pay more for their book than we pay for ours.”

This year, Hutcherson is the host of the gala in Boston on Oct. 20. The organization is in need of auction items and sponsorships.

She said she is hoping to help establish more braille resources and social events in the Houston area, however with many of the blind residents living in the suburbs, public transportation becomes difficult.

Still, Hutcherson said she feels blessed with her son and has learned to see life from a new perspective.

“This challenge has blessed my life in a way I didn’t see coming. I’m thankful God saw the bigger plan and knew I was able, because I sure didn’t. It has led me to an amazing part of my life,” said Hutcherson.

To learn more about the National Braille Press, visit www.nbp.org. To donate to the gala, contact Hutcherson at 281-476-8500.