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Blindness taught mother resilience, how to adapt

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BOUNTIFUL — As a mother with two children under the age of five, Becky Andrews noticed her vision was failing. Soon after, doctors diagnosed her with Retinitis pigmnentosa: A degenerative eye disease without a cure.

Now with her children grown and raised, Becky can see only a small, fuzzy spot in one eye. But when her children were growing and her eyesight deteriorating, she had to learn to adapt, and how to be resilient — the theme of her life, she said.

"I think that taught me if you can't do something the conventional way there is always a way around, under, sideways, through — you can make it happen," said her daughter, Natalie Wardel.

When she could no longer drive a car, she and her children rode the bus from Centerville.

"The driving may have been an issue to some, but we probably went to Salt Lake as kids more than most kids. We just took the bus," said Kendall Andrews, her son.

During the 1999 tornado in Salt Lake City, she remained calm and searched for her son with her guide dog.

"She was probably the least panicky person there. And it was amazing as a little kid of just 11 or 12 to see that," Kendall said.

She earned her master's degree and became a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor. She worked at the Moran Eye Institute, where she helped others through their own vision loss. Today, she owns a practice in Bountiful which she named "Resilient Solutions." In the office she relies on her guide dog, Cricket, to get around.

Last fall, she and three of her friends completed a marathon together. They led her with a 6-inch tether through the race course.

Just last week, Becky traveled to New York City to accept the Mother of Achievement Award from the National organization American Mothers.

She said she felt inadequate accepting the award.

"Do my kids know how much I love them and value them? So an award like that, I struggled with a little bit I think," Becky said. "At the end of the day, I hope I've done my best as a mom."


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Nadine Wimmer


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