Eileen Nunn (centre

Eileen Nunn (centre

Finding strength through support

White Rock/South Surrey macular degeneration group provides answers and guidance

When Eileen Nunn recalls the day she lost vision in one eye, her memory’s still vivid, despite the nine years that have passed.

“I woke up and I couldn’t see properly. I could see with one eye but not with the other. I panicked,” the 91-year-old said.

Not knowing what to do, Nunn called her daughter, who took her straight to an eye specialist. The South Surrey was diagnosed with macular degeneration.

The age-related medical condition results in a loss of vision in the centre of the visual field – or macula – because of damage to the retina.

While Nunn was initially unsure of what to do and how to cope, a chance meeting with a group of women at the Kent Street Activity Centre’s weekly luncheon presented her with a support system.

The White Rock/South Surrey Macular Degeneration group, founded by Audrey Hunter, was exactly what Nunn was looking for.

“We all have it, and now we share how we handle it,” Nunn said. “We find out information for one another – whatever questions are asked, we try to answer them.

“Audrey always used to say, ‘you’re not alone.’”

Though Hunter has since retired from the group, Nunn noted her legacy continues.

Without the support of the group – which celebrated its 15th anniversary last year – Nunn said she wouldn’t have been able to deal with the vision loss with the strength she has now.

And, being a member of the group for nearly a decade, the nonagenarian is taking a leadership role in hosting the monthly meetings at her condo complex’s recreational room, where she and other members prepare refreshments and information for those who are looking for answers.

“I can’t say enough about the group, it’s put me where I am and it’s why I’m still here,” she said. “I’ve got a big family.”

The group meets the fourth Thursday of every month, with the exception of December, from 1-3 p.m. at Cranberry Lane’s recreation room, 15241 18 Ave. Cost is $2 to cover refreshments.

For more information about the group, contact Nunn at 604 535-3200.