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Maria's story

When 55 year old ex-Service women, Maria Pikulski lost her sight, her world fell apart. But with the support of Blind Veterans UK she is now enjoying life again.

Maria was 18 when she joined the Women’s Royal Army, driving vehicles adapted for arctic conditions, as well as cooking and clerical work. When she left the Forces in 1993, Maria became a nurse in her local hospital. One day in late 2002, one of her patients told her they were worried about her eyesight as she seemed to be struggling with simple tasks. After seeing her GP, Maria was diagnosed with Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy.

In February 2003, she’d lost sight in her left eye, and by September, Maria was registered blind.

“Devastation, isolation, loss of independence. When I lost my sight my world fell apart around me, and there were times when I didn't even want to carry on living. But becoming a member of Blind Veterans UK saved me” Maria Pikulski

Maria heard about Blind Veterans UK through a friend. Since becoming a member in 2004, she has regained her confidence in basic life skills, as well as taking part in a number of activities she never thought she would do, like running the London Marathon, skiing, sky-diving, adventure training and white water rafting.

“Until becoming a member of Blind Veterans UK, I had no concept of how I would even carry on. However, the more time I spend at the Brighton centre, the more I realise that, with their help, I can turn my life around. Blind Veterans UK has helped me regain my confidence. It is great to be able to cook again and the equipment they have given me, means I can now read my post. I really do feel like I have my independence back and the training has opened doors to employment. With their encouragement, I am doing things I never thought I would do, including charity races with other blind people. I’m so grateful to Blind Veterans UK; their support has been life-changing, and my happiness and independence is down to them and the help they’ve given me over the years.”