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Life changing accident gives hope to many

Jun 11, 2019

Credit Vanderbilt News - Vanderbilt University

A life-changing accident that suddenly left James Boehm blind gave him two choices - to be a bump on a log and let other people take care of him, or embrace his blindness and learn how to reinvent himself with independence.  Boehm chose the latter.

He went back to school and earned his undergraduate degree in psychology, then was accepted into Vanderbilt Peabody College of education and human development and pursued a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling.


As he explored and researched this new world of blindness, he also learned that people with vision loss in many impoverished parts of the world don't even have access to a white cane to help them live independently.  So he decided to do something about it - a recycling project, so to speak.

Boehm knew that many of his clients in the United States owned multiple canes that went unused.

“Instead of all these canes going to waste in America, people send me their old canes. I restore them to new condition to give people around the world new independence,” he explained.

But it's not just about giving them a physical tool toward independence, it's also about helping people deal with the emotional impacts of blindness.  “That’s what counseling is all about,” Boehm continued.

"It's about building relationships. It's about meeting people where they're at. It's about helping them find solutions so that they can find meaning in their lives and joy and happiness."

Watch the video from Vanderbilt University.