By Sue Wambolt, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – Every third Wednesday of the month, Robert Marcotte, 72, travels from his home in Bolton (he moved from Marlborough last year) to Saint Matthias Parish, 409 Hemenway St. in Marlborough. There, he runs the meeting of the Marlborough Chapter of the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MAB). A retired carpenter who is almost blind from choroideremia, a rare inherited disorder that causes progressive loss of vision due to degeneration of the choroid and retina, Marcotte is the coordinator of the Marlborough Chapter of the MAB.
“The goal of the meetings is to give support and information to our members and also to give them a place to come and interact with other people who have the same issues. Many do not know where to turn or what is available to them, and they just need to interact with other low vision people and discuss/share their problems,” Marcotte said.
There are an average of 15 to 20 people (or more) at meetings, ranging in age from 60 to 90-plus, said Marcotte. From time to time there are guest speakers who talk and lead discussions about the concerns of the visually impaired community. There have been speakers from the Registry of Motor Vehicles, a low vision specialist, a pharmacist, a nutritionist, the director of the Senior Center, a “Talking Book” (audiobooks, produced for “print-disabled” readers) representative and someone from the Carroll Center, to name a few.
According to the MAB's website, its mission is to “work with individuals with disabilities to eliminate barriers and create opportunities.”
The Marlborough Chapter of the MAB tries to meet the needs of the visually impaired – partnering with the community to offer family, neighbors and friends “confident living with vision loss.” The meetings are free and open to the public.
To learn more about MAB visit http://www.mabcommunity.org/