Chuck Ferrara is a man who loves to share a good laugh.
Wearing his trademark fedora, the 69-year-old resident of Wakefield, Massachusetts, regales visitors with stories about his days as an auxiliary police officer in the ’70s, recites lines from “The Godfather” and speaks warmly of his family and friends. He is someone who, like most people, thrives on connecting with others.
Chuck was born with Usher Syndrome, a genetic condition that results in combined vision and hearing loss. While his hearing was somewhat limited as a child, he didn’t start losing his vision until he was older.
“It has become problematic in the last three or four years of my life,” he says. For someone as outgoing as Chuck, the resulting social separation was difficult to face. “The deafblind isolation was a killer,” he says. “It was frightening to realize the more blind I became, the less interaction I’d be able to have.”
Things started to turn around for Chuck when he discovered iCanConnect several years ago. Through the program, he received a Lenovo computer, software and training.
“I’m quite a Facebook fan,” he says. “My new computer helped me get out of the isolation that I’ve had as a deafblind man, and that’s invaluable for anyone with a disability.”
One of the biggest stumbling blocks people of all abilities face when it comes to technology is learning how to use it. Chuck says he benefited from the in-depth training and support provided by iCanConnect. “I want to thank my iCanConnect trainer, Jerry Berrier,” he says. “He’s a good friend. He’s always been very patient and very helpful in directing me through the ins and outs of the program.” Above all, Chuck appreciates the human connection that iCanConnect helped him regain. “It has had a wonderful impact on me and my life and I’m grateful for it,” he says. “We’re all blessed, one way or the other, with such programs.”