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impairment. Though they had to give up their driving licenses, which family invite them to travel along to events. “It’s a daily thing. You just most young adults would struggle with, they found it a relief because have to learn to reach out for help. We’re very grateful,” she adds. driving had become so stressful for them. Denise adds, “There are days that are really tough. I think one thing Denise recalls begging the doctors at the time of her diagnosis to I had to learn was to reach out and ask for rides without feeling guilty.” predict when she would be completely blind. They had predicted that Both women are thankful for their employers in supporting their she would have lost all vision by her late twenties, only a few years limitation. Marilyn started at the federal prison 23 years ago, managing away. She lived her life at that time thinking that complete blindness several vending machines under the Business Enterprise Program of was nearing quickly. Fortunately, the condition has progressed more South Dakota. Under this program, any federal facility has priority slowly for the twins. to a blind or visually impaired vendor and the prison fell under Because their condition affected them very young and progressed this umbrella. Her husband Marv assists with filling and fixing the gradually, they learned from a young age how to do many things with machines. She explains that she is grateful for the staff at her job at the little vision. They feel fortunate for this, as it gave them time to adapt to prison who encouraged her as they’ve always wanted her to succeed. it, adapting better than someone who might lose their vision instantly. She had great employees working for her and friends that helped with Their positive and upbeat attitude has helped them deal with the rides and support. condition. “We use our sense of humor and we’ve been told that we Denise has been with the Avera Sacred Heart Wellness Center for really have a good attitude, grace and a sense of humor,” Marilyn nearly 19 years and is the Senior Exercise Coordinator. She stresses the explains. But she explains that sometimes during a bad day, they might importance of hiring someone with a disability which can result in a confront insensitivity when someone tells a blind joke or makes a rude more dedicated worker because they really appreciate the job. comment about their impairment. They both feel that their reaction is “We need to work, to be productive,” she explains. “That gives most important to the negative situation, reacting with grace or even people with disabilities a lot of pride in what they can do in giving their sense of humor. The ladies joked about an incidence when one back, because so many people give to them. Whoever you are, you walked out of the house with two different shoes on. need to give back to society and do something that’s useful,” she states. “Even the sighted people do Over the years, they’ve taken that!” Denise exclaims as we laugh. advantage of various tools to help Denise adds her perspective. “If aid in their impairment and Denise we all live long enough, we’re going pointed out that someone with to get something. As we age, we all a disability must be proactive in change anyway. And there’s so many finding services and asking for different things out in the world and help. The two have visited the so much good stuff that you can South Dakota School for the Blind find.” She explains that though there in Sioux Falls and the Nebraska are many things that they cannot School for the Blind in Lincoln, do, they have found just as many where their brother worked. They things that they can do. “Every one learned a lot about traveling with of us has things that we can’t do a cane from their brother, who that somebody else is better at,” she has become extremely skilled at it. smiles. They’ve learned how to face various 6”x48” planks with a lifetime stress-free warranty, They’ve come to rely on family situations completely blinded by and friendsto help when needed. for coordinate with today’s décor and to stand up to all of life’s messes. designed vGROWING STRONG Denise teaching her Senior Aerobics class at the Wellness Center. Marilyn explains how they are continued on page 22 Photo courtesy of Nathan Johnson, Avera Sacred Heart Hospital. thankful that they have friends and gton.com | 1.800.356.6787 ©Floor Designs Copyrighted by Mannington Mills, Inc. ®©™Mannington Mills, Inc. 2016 Larsen Carpet Laminate | Porcelain | Resilient | Hardwood Retailer Imprint 6”x48” planks with a lifetim 6”x48” planks with a lifetime stress-free warranty, designed to coordinate with today’s décor and to stand up to all of life’s messes. 6”x48” planks with a lifetime stress-free warranty, designed to coordinate with today’s décor and to stand up to all of life’s messes. designed to coordinate with today’s décor 208 Walnut|605.665.2067 Historic Downtown Yankton mannington.com | 1.800.356.6787 Retailer ©Floor Designs Copyrighted by Manning HERVOICEvMARCH/APRIL 2018v9

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