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Looking at Life through a Rose-colored Cane

Frankie Ann Marcille is a legally blind author, educator, and advocate whose "I can!" perspective shines through in every aspect of her work.

Frankie Ann stands among towering sunflowers, holding her mobility cane and smiling broadly for the camera

I have always been legally blind, having been diagnosed with septo-optic dysplasia at three months old. I have a visual acuity of 20/600 in one eye and 20/800 in the other, no peripheral vision, night blindness, nystagmus, and no perception of relative distance or depth perception.

I am a partial cane user and large-print reader, but I also read braille! I can’t drive a car, but I am a master at public transit! Life with low vision is all I’ve ever known and I’ve spent that life with less sight just trying to foster my personal vision…

Chapter 1: My past

Throughout my childhood, I remember encountering people who tried to tell me “no” -questioning my abilities because of my vision. There were moments when I felt isolated as the only blind person living in my small town in Connecticut. I will never forget getting my first white cane at age 16 as my sighted peers got their driver’s licenses.

I remember these tough moments, but the moments that stand out even more are the times when I didn’t let my vision hold me back. I was fortunate to have an incredible support system who encouraged me to take risks: my parents and first TVI. At age two, my parents signed me up for dance classes, and I went on to dance five days a week for fifteen years. Because of their support, I adopted a perspective that allowed me to focus on what I CAN do, instead of what I can’t.

Chapter 2: My present – and my “I CAN” perspective

As an adult, I have devoted my life to sharing this “I CAN” perspective with others. I moved to New York City to support my independence and am currently working as a Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (VRT)/Orientation & Mobility (O&M) Specialist at VISIONS Services for the Blind and as a Content Creator for Eye.T, a curriculum development company for the blind. Nothing means more to me than getting to help others who have my shared experience of vision loss to step out of the dark and see what is possible.

In this video, created to celebrate VRT Appreciation Month, my VISIONS colleagues and I discuss our work:

Video description: The first speaker, Nancy D. Miller, is a white woman with gray hair sitting in an office speaking to the camera. The second speaker, Michael Cush, is a white man with short blonde hair sitting in an office speaking into the camera. The third and final speaker, Frankie Ann Marcille, is a white woman with rose gold hair and pink glasses. She is sitting in an adaptive kitchen speaking to the camera. Video credit: VISIONS Services for the Blind.

I also share the “I CAN” perspective through writing. My two published books, YES: The Story of a Dreamer (Wishing Shelf International Book Award Finalist) and Through the Magnifying Glass are odes to all of the people who have encouraged me.

I wrote them for those who don’t have someone to tell them “yes” or who are struggling with self-acceptance. My hope is that these stories will encourage readers to trust in themselves and follow their dreams.

The cover of Frankie Ann’s first book, YES: The Story of a Dreamer. The cover shows a little girl in a ballerina outfit sitting on a bench next to a man wearing overalls and a straw hat. Next to him on the bench are gardener’s gloves and a bag is sitting on the ground next to the bench. Behind them is a scene of grass and trees with a bright blue sky. There is a gold medal on the cover that reads Wishing Shelf Finalist.
The cover of Frankie Ann’s first book, YES: The Story of a Dreamer. Written by Frankie Ann Marcille, illustrated by Patrick Regan. Cover art was created by Patrick Regan (
The cover of Frankie Ann’s second book, Through the Magnifying Glass. The cover shows a middle school girl sitting in a library. She is sitting at a desk on a computer. In front of her is a magnifying glass showing her face clearly. The title of the book is above her head. The text reads the book title, written by Frankie Ann Marcille, Illustrated by Patrick Regan.
The cover of Frankie Ann’s second book, Through the Magnifying Glass. Written by Frankie Ann Marcille, illustrated by Patrick Regan. The cover art was created by Patrick Regan (

Finally, I have been channeling the “I CAN” perspective into advocacy. I have been working with a team of vision rehabilitation professionals in New York State to advocate for licensure for VRTs and O&M specialists. Licensure would help to create more opportunities for people who are blind or low vision to receive services, as well as ensure that people who are blind or low vision have the most qualified individuals providing rehabilitation.

Soon, I will be traveling to the New York State capital to speak with representatives about what licensure could offer to the BVI community.

Chapter 3: My future

Looking ahead, I plan to continue to write, teach, and advocate to help others achieve their dreams.

I plan to write more books in various genres that feature characters across the spectrum of blindness.

I plan to present at conferences across the country this year to help share my perspective as both a professional and person within the BVI community.

I plan to advocate for equity within my BVI community, and lobby for change.

I plan to continue to embrace the “I CAN” perspective and to always look at life through a rose-colored cane.

Frankie Ann standing in front of a bright pink background. She is holding her cane in front of her and has a joyful smile on her face.
Frankie Ann stands in front of a bright pink background holding her cane with a joyful smile on her face.

About the author

To learn more about Frankie Ann Marcille and her work as an author, educator, and advocate – or to purchase her books – visit her website, You can also give her a follow on Facebook and Instagram.

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