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Adventure and Resilience: Carol’s Story

Carol Custer is one of AINC’s newest listeners, and she’s a fan of some AINC Originals like Aftersight and Blind Level Tech.  Carol has a soul full of adventure and doesn’t let vision loss keep her from being active. In fact, when AINC’s Listener Services Coordinator, Matt Kissane, called her, she was using the flashlight on her phone to organize a high shelf in her living room.  “I don’t like to do it,” she said. “About three times a year I just have to face it.”

Carol lives with dry macular degeneration and geographic atrophy, an aggressive form of AMD that causes opaque spots in vision. “Magnification can’t help much,” she says, “because you can’t see by magnifying a dead spot.” Obviously, the reduced vision doesn’t stop her, and neither does the small backpack that supplies her with oxygen.Before landing in Telluride, Carol spent ten years camping around the West, through the Great Basin to the southern coast of Alaska. She worked for three years as a camp host at Great Basin National Park and said the nearest grocery store was 90 minutes away. “That was our metropolis,” she says. “You had to check all the expiration labels.” Now, in Telluride, she walks every day with her friend, Cheryl. The two are even joined by Harper Lee – Carol’s loyal poodle – as they walk the golf course. And while Carol does not drive anymore, she still has her trusty camper van. Every spring her daughter picks it up, brings it to Carol’s home in Telluride, and drops Carol and Harper Lee off at campgrounds for companion time in nature. We wonder if she’ll tune in to Aftersight while she’s out there this spring? We don’t mind if she just enjoys the birdsong.

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