Sarina Cormier (she/her)
In 2011, at age 21, I began to experience vision loss; I first noticed that my night vision wasn’t what it used to be and shortly after, I was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a condition that causes vision loss. Since then, I have lost night vision and some central vision and I am now legally blind. My experiences living with vision loss have highlighted the lack of accessibility in our communities. I realize now that I have become less and less concerned about my actual vision loss and more concerned about how inaccessible the world can be to those of us who are differently abled. It has been my dream for some time to help create a more accessible world where full community participation is a reality, not just a wish: a community where people of all abilities feel included. I completed my masters of Social Work in 2013 and since then I have worked in the hospital system supporting individuals with mental health challenges. I choose to believe anything is possible. I love trying new things even if they present unique challenges. Currently in my spare time I train in Jiu Jitsu and kickboxing. I also enjoy kayaking and traveling.
Natalie Shearer (she/her)
My passion for accessibility stems from living with Usher Syndrome Type 2, a form of deaf-blindness. Characterized by severe hearing loss, night blindness, and loss of peripheral vision, my condition has taught me to be adaptable and patient. Completing my Master of Educational Technology while working in e-learning and higher education allowed me to explore the many ways in which technology can help make the world a more accessible place. Working in hospital and university fundraising has connected me with people from all walks of life. The opportunity to advocate for disability awareness, facilitate inclusive learning, and continue connecting with others and their stories through accessibility consulting is a dream come true. I am a firm believer that laughter is the best medicine, and I enjoy getting a good dose of it while sharing a delicious meal with family and friends. I have two beautiful children, who are my biggest motivators to advocate for a world and future that continues to be more inclusive.
In 2018, we were introduced through our local Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) Branch. Coincidentally, we were two women around the same age, working within the same hospital, and living with the same rare eye disease – Retinitis Pigmentosa. Above all – as our Low Vision Specialist pointed out – we shared a positive outlook and openness surrounding our experiences with vision loss. After meeting on what could only be described as a true “blind date”, we quickly realized that we also had a shared passion for creating a more accessible world, and that our combined education and expertise would allow us to do just that in the only way we know how. With openness, positivity and just the right amount of humour. This is how Two Canes Consulting was born.