Dottie Patterson’s passion for volunteering began when she was a teenage candy striper at a local hospital. It has continued throughout her life as she volunteered at schools and hospitals, as well as serving on several Frisco- area charitable boards. Last month, the 82-year-old was recognized for her efforts to help those living with vision loss.
“I have followed my beloved mother’s example of helping others and believe God has put me on this earth to serve,” she says.
Patterson herself has been living with glaucoma for decades. However, it was only recently that her eyesight began deteriorating significantly. In the spring of 2019, she went completely blind.
“Every day was a challenge when I first lost my sight,” she said. “But I never said, ‘I can’t do this.’ Instead, I asked myself ‘how can I do this?’”
With the help of her daughter, she became an ambassador for Hadley, a non-profit that provides distance learning for visually impaired adults. In recognition of her work, Hadley recently named her its HEROES award recipient. It’s an honor given to those who further the nonprofit’s mission of creating personalized learning opportunities that empower those with blindness to thrive at home, at work and in their communities.
“With Dottie’s help, Hadley’s resources will now reach many others,” Hadley President and CEO Julie Tye says. “We are honored to recognize Dottie’s efforts with our HEORES award, and we can’t thank her enough for all she has done in her community and beyond.”
Patterson says that the best advice she can give those who begin suffering vision loss is to continue learning new ways to do things. She also advises them to stay connected to family, friends and other support systems and to try and keep a sense of humor.
“When I am having a bad day, I get on the phone and connect with a friend,” she says. “I may be supported and inspired by them, and I might just support and inspire them along the way, too.”