Imagine not being able to see the world clearly in all its beauty, not being able to see the stars at their brightest or have part of your vision permanently blurred or non-existent. Today is World Sight Day, which aims to raise awareness for blindness and vision impairment around the world. Customer Service Consultant, Cheree Cole, is proof that even with a vision impairment, it is possible to build a career and live life just like everybody else.
Cheree has Macular Degeneration, a group of diseases that affect the retina of the eye. It affects a person’s central vision, leaving their peripheral vision intact but can gradually lead to complete vision loss. This can impact an individual’s ability to read, drive and other activities where the ability to see clearly is required. Although typically referred to as an age-related disease, as it usually affects older people, Cheree’s case is different in that she was born with the disease.
“I didn’t have any issues with it when I was younger so it wasn’t actually diagnosed until symptoms started showing later on. One day I was driving with my mum in the country when she told me to look out for the sheep up ahead. I asked her if she meant the few that were on either of our sides, little did I know there were thousands up ahead.”
Cheree was told by doctors that she would be completely blind by the time she reached the age of 40. Although this disease progressively gets worse, she isn’t letting this stop her from living her life and doing her job as best as she can at Medibank.
The support that she has received from the business continually surprises her. Admitting that she has never been one to ask for help, she says that Medibank’s constant support continues to be a great change in her life.
Cheree says the support she has received since joining Medibank continues to amaze her.
“I’m used to just dealing with obstacles on my own, doing what I can with what I have, rather than looking for help. Medibank supporting me the way they have has been amazing. The business looks at how they can help me be a productive member of the team while bettering myself in the process.”
Cheree says she constantly feels supported by her Customer Connect team.
With her vision impairment comes the need for certain equipment that helps her do her job efficiently and effectively. These needs are something that have been deeply supported by Medibank.
“Sometimes I forget the extent that Medibank will go to in order to make sure that I have everything I need. I’ve had meetings with my team and Vision Australia who did a job assessment to see what equipment is required. We’re revisiting ZoomText, which magnifies the text on the computer for me. We’ve also installed a CCTV Magnifier where I can now slide a document under the magnifier and it comes up on the screen.”
Cheree using the new CCTV Magnifier technology.
It’s safe to say that being a part of Medibank means that employees aren’t alone in their roles and left to figure things out. It means that they get to build their careers with the support they need.
“I’ve always felt included at Medibank, even with my vision impairment. The inclusion and support I’ve received from the business has been beyond what I ever expected.”