For one Pasco teen, a gift of music, sight and independence came all at once.
Dulce Perez started losing her sight when she was 7 years old, after she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes a year earlier.
After years of depending on others help in the classroom, Perez will be able to â€śseeâ€ť on her own because of a new gadget and two local organizations.
Team Up for Type 1 Kids and the Edith Bishel Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired partnered up to gift Perez an Orcam MyEye 2.0.
The device helps Perez by recognizing faces â€” more than 100 once programmed â€” reading words to her, and identifying products.
â€śIâ€™m able to see now,â€ť Perez said. â€śIâ€™m going to be able to do my homework without asking my partners for help.â€ť
The main unit clips to her glasses. A camera sees faces and objects, then tells her through an earpiece when itâ€™s a face or thing the unit knows.
The Orcam costs $4,500 and isnâ€™t covered by insurance.
The 15-year-old is the first student in the Tri-Cities to use an Orcam, said Daniel Lipparelli, Bishelâ€™s executive director.
â€śFor her to have this device, she wonâ€™t need a big video magnifier on her desk,â€ť Lipparelli said. â€śShe can do her homework at home.â€ť
Perez is one of more than 250 kids in the Tri-Cities with visual impairments that canâ€™t be corrected by glasses, he said.
T1 Kids co-founder Forrest Alexander first approached the Perez family to help Dolce pursue one of her dreams â€” playing the piano.
With the help of T1 Kids, Perez got to tour Tri-City Music for a piano while using her Orcam.
Owner Allan Willis was ready for her with a free Samsung digital piano.
â€śThe gift of music is a gift that last a lifetime,â€ť Willis said. â€śThereâ€™s no greater blessing in life then to be kind to someone and help them reach their full potential.â€ť
Perez said sheâ€™s excited to play the piano and start school. Math is her favorite subject because of the challenges.
She wants to become a doctor someday, to help others like sheâ€™s been helped.
The young girl said she doesnâ€™t shy away from difficult things, believing everyone should embrace them.
â€śNever give up on life,â€ť Perez said. â€śDonâ€™t say no to an opportunity that is opening a door to your future.â€ť
You can help: Team Up for T1 Kids is in need of volunteers. To sign up, go to http://teamupfort1d.org/.
Rachel Fradette: 509-582-1413