Sharon's INSPIRATIONAL Short stories of Faith and Romance can be found HERE or visit her
Facebook Page, which also has the links in the comments.)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Treated like a Celebrity

It was a night to celebrate. When one door closes, another door opens. Those were the opening words to the speech I gave on Friday evening at the Pitt Panther/Pittsburgh Steeler practice field. After losing my vision ten years ago, I attended BVRS (Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services) of Pittsburgh where I learned to use a computer with adaptive software, converting text to synthesized speech. I initially wanted no parts of the program, feeling clients would be uneducated. I was a professional, after all. What could I possibly have in common with "those people?"

I was wrong. I met doctors and nurses, teachers and engineers, all with one common thread. We were all losing vision due to circumstances beyond our control. Some had the added burden of facing a marital crisis because a spouse could not face the blindness. We laughed and we cried. We bonded in a way words could never express. I was one of the lucky ones. What didn't kill me made me stronger. When I left the program, I found the strength to face a sighted world I was once part of. A former legal secretary and artist, I began taking creative writing classes to satisfy my creative muse. Eventually, doors to publishing houses opened. Doors have continued to open, all through faith to never give up on a dream.

When I was asked to be guest speaker at a BVRS fundraiser auction, I was horrified. But remembering how much the agency helped me through my darkest hour, I sucked it in and stood tall among the crowd. And when I finished my speech with a "Go Pitt!" I brought the house down and earned a hug from the Pitt Panther coach!

It was an awesome night. A photographer followed me around and the Tribune Review interviewed me. Below is the press release for the function and a link to the Tribune-Review where I am photographed. I feel truly blessed.


Meet Pitt Football Coach Dave Wannstedt, pictured left, and tour the Pitt/Steelers Practice Facility at BVRS’ For Your Eyes Only 2010 Tailgate Party on the Southside from 7-10 p.m. Friday, June 11.

Enjoy a delicious buffet dinner, cocktails, and dance the night away to live music by the classic rock and roll band “Truth Be Told.” Reservations are required. Tickets are $75, with $35 of that amount tax deductable. For additional information, contact Blind & Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh’s Development Department at 412-368-4400 or email inquiries to:

With Coach Wannstedt serving as auctioneer, you’ll have the chance to bid on autographed sports items, Pitt Panther Football Box Seats, a catered dinner in your home by celebrity Chef Bob Malone, a weekend at Seven Springs Mountain Resort and more.

And that's not all!

Pittsburgh author Sharon Donovan, pictured below, will be the guest speaker. At the tender age of 6, Ms. Donovan was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes and told by her doctor that she would be blind by the age of 25.

Those words haunted the Avalon resident all of her life and when the doctor’s prediction came true, Ms. Donovan came to BVRS where she learned how to manage her life independently with blindness.

Ms. Donovan has told her story in her nonfiction book, “Echoes of a Raven.” Once an artist who painted on canvas, Ms. Donovan is now an author of several books of fiction.

On her website,, Ms. Donovan talks about her transformation in a poem titled ‘Yesterday.’

It says, in part: “From the maze of mayhem and rubble a new dream resurrected renewing hope and inspiration for a brighter tomorrow. Today, motivated by new insight, instead of painting pictures on canvas, I paint my pictures with words.”

Ms. Donovan’s most recent work, “Mask of the Betrayer,” is a psychological thriller and is available at this link:

BVRS appreciates the hard work and dedication of the For Your Eyes Only 2010 Committee: Michele Antonelli, Chair, and members Bonnie Anton, Peg Fitchwell-Hill, Denise Gipson, Julia Gleason, Virginia Goebel, Terry Jancisin, Marsha Kirley, Elizabeth McCarthy, Patti McKee, Joan Martin Siebart, Pert Pivirotto, Peggy Snavely, Julia Unitas Giba, and Jan Wannstedt.

Tribune Review


Sharon Donovan said...

Oliver is happy to serve you with a wink and smile. Enjoy!

Cate Masters said...

So glad to hear the night went so well for you Sharon! How wonderful to be able to give back, and be met with such open arms (literally!). Congrats on your new release and kudos on its wonderful reviews! All the best to you.

Autumn Jordon said...

Very inspiring story, Sharon. Kudos to you for taking the time to give back. I'm happy that the event went well for you.


BTW: I'm a huge Steeler Fan. I didn't realize you were in PA.

宇軒蕙帆 said...
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Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Sharon, my inspirational friend.
I am so glad that your night went off so well. Good luck with your new releases.



Miss Mae said...

I had to hunt for the link that took you directly to Sharon's story. Here it is:

Sharon, they told your age! *gasp* LOL, but you are beautiful, gal friend!

and you're short like me, hee hee

Wonderful write-up, I'm so proud of you!

big hugs,

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Cate, thank you so much. What fun it was and how awesome to be able to help through hope and inspiration. We should all have a night like that and it will keep me smiling for a long time!

Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Autumn, yes I'm from Pittsburgh and have been a Steeler fan for years! I'm in a football poll as a matter of fact and love going to both baseball and football games. Meeting the Pitt Panther coach was awesome. He is a really nice guy and knows how to handle a crowd!

Sharon Donovan said...

Margaret, my dear friend. You are always so sweet and supportive! Thank you so much. I loved my celebrity evening. Smile!

Sharon Donovan said...

GASP! and double GASP! Miss Mae! They wiggled my age out of me after some of your lemonade, girlfriend. LOL But thank you for the sweet compliment, and yes, I am short. Now if they think they can sweet talk me into giving my weight for the entire world to read, well, it will take more than a glass of MM's family recipe! LOL
Thanks for posting the link. Was the one I have not working?
Big hugs my dear gal pal,

Mary Ricksen said...

Sharon, you are one unique individual my friend and if diabetes caused this. It ruined so many things for you. But you are so strong. I might never have met you and my heart would never have had you in it. So good does come from bad. Love you sweetie!

Sharon Donovan said...

Mary, dear friend. You are too kind. But I agree with what you say. If not for the sadness, the tragedy, the joy of making friends through the amazing power of technology would not have happened. I count the days when we meet in person for the Cruise with your Muse! If this was a night to celebrate, meeting you after chatting online, sharing the hostess duties at the Roast and Toast blog with you and Lyn, and chatting on the phone, meeting in person will be a red letter day in my life. Love you too, sweetie!

Debra St. John said...

Sharon, what a fantastic evening. Great press release...

Sharon Donovan said...

Thanks, Debra! It was an awesome night that will always have a soft spot in my heart. Sigh.

Nishant said...
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