Inspirational Fargo woman thrives despite vision loss

Woman using a video magnifier to paint a card.

There is not a day that goes by that 91-year-old Marcy Peterson isn’t either writing, painting or cooking in the comfort of her own home.  

“I try to learn something new every day,” she said.  

Twenty years ago, she helped care for her husband as he battled the challenges of macular degeneration. 

Little did she know that she would soon walk in his shoes. Life with legal blindness created obstacles, but she didn't let them stop her from remaining independent.

“I’m determined, and that’s what keeps me going,” she said. “You find a way of doing things that you never thought of before, and you have to be willing to not only look for help but to accept it.”


Simple solutions that support independence

Woman with low vision using the microwave with tactile dots.In 2011, Marcy and her husband moved to Fargo and two years later he went into nursing home. Afraid to live alone, she connected with the Older Individuals Who are Blind Program through the Vocational Rehabilitation Program.  

A vision rehabilitation specialist went to her home and showed her how simple solutions could enable her to remain independent. Together, they installed self-adhesive round bump dots on several household appliances to help Marcy identify by touch how to use each one.

“I’m able to run my stove and microwave and do my laundry because of these markers,” she said. “Most of what I do is from feeling or memory, so by doing this, it has enabled me to stay in my home.”

Through the years, VR and other partners have provided her with additional assistive devices that have contributed to her successfully remaining in her home. Marcy also purchased a video magnifier that allows her to write checks, read recipes, create crafts and author poetry.


Independence fuels writing passion 

Woman using a video magnifier to write.

Independent living has also allowed Marcy to focus on her life-long passion, writing.

About two years ago, she joined a writing group that made an impact on her life.

With the help of her video magnifier and encouragement from her group, she wrote a poem titled “The Visit.” It was selected to be printed in the Fargo Public Library’s 2023 Northern Narratives publication.  

“It was a highlight of my year,” she said. “The poem was a tribute to my husband and a story about the year he spent in a nursing home. I wrote it because I wanted to remember the things that he told me and the last thing he ever said to me.”

Marcy Peterson, a true inspiration and determined woman who plans to continue to live successfully in her home with the help of North Dakota Health and Human Services Vocational Rehabilitation Program. 

To learn more or to get connected with the Older Individuals Who are Blind Program, visit Vocational Rehabilitation

Read Marcy’s poem “The Visit” – see page 53.