Mike Schickerowski, 44, was finally able to get his driver’s licence earlier this month. The Benalto man was born legally blind and received surgery in 2018 to correct his vision. Contributed photo

Mike Schickerowski, 44, was finally able to get his driver’s licence earlier this month. The Benalto man was born legally blind and received surgery in 2018 to correct his vision. Contributed photo

Benalto man born legally blind finally gets driver’s licence

Mike Schickerowski went through a long journey to get his driver’s licence.

The 44-year-old man who lives in Benalto, which is west of Sylvan Lake, was born with nystagmus and had been legally blind for most of his life.

“By 11 months old, my mother had identified the problem,” said Schickerowski.

“The doctors said that it would be very difficult going forward in my life. They said I would never attend public school. I would never play sports. I would never work in the workforce, and I would never drive a car.”

Nystagmus is a vision disorder in which the eyes make repetitive, uncontrolled movements.

Schickerowski proved the doctors wrong on many fronts throughout his life. He attended public school with the help of special accommodations, became a provincial wrestling champion, captained his high school football team, and has worked in the “computer field” most of his adult life.

But, one thing the doctors were right about was that he was unable to drive.

“It felt like something I was missing out on. My goals for driving changed over the years. When I was young, it was more about growing up – you sort of move from being a child to an adult and gain your independence,” said Schickerowski.

“But at my age now, it’s felt more like I’ve been missing a connection with my family, my children specifically. I didn’t have the ability to take them to soccer practice or bring them out to get ice cream. All of that had fallen onto my wife’s shoulders.”

His children are 15, nine and seven.

Schickerowski signed up for experimental surgery in California to correct his vision in 2018. Shortly after the procedure, his eyes had settled “slightly out of place,” so he needed to return to California for a second operation.

After the successful surgeries, Schickerowski got his learner’s licence and was finally able get behind the wheel, as long as there was a supervisor in the vehicle.

“Driving’s scary at first. It was hard and I couldn’t believe how much you need to be aware of when driving,” he said.

“I was certainly a nervous wreck at first. But I pushed myself pretty hard – I drove … as frequently as possible. Every day, I pushed myself. It took about three or fours months to be completely comfortable.”

Schickerowski was set to do his road test to get his full licence in April, but COVID-19 delayed his plans. He was finally able to take his road test earlier this month and passed on the first try.

“I can take my kids fishing. I can take them to get ice cream. Even just to go out and pick up parts for something around the house or garage. I’m able to just do that on my own now when I need it, when I want to. It’s an absolutely incredible feeling.”

Schickerowski says is “it’s important for people to realize we shouldn’t give up on our dreams.”



sean.mcintosh@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Mike Schickerowski, 44, was finally able to get his driver’s licence earlier this month. The Benalto man was born legally blind and received surgery in 2018 to correct his vision. Contributed photo

Mike Schickerowski, 44, was finally able to get his driver’s licence earlier this month. The Benalto man was born legally blind and received surgery in 2018 to correct his vision. Contributed photo

Mike Schickerowski, 44, was finally able to get his driver’s licence earlier this month. The Benalto man was born legally blind and received surgery in 2018 to correct his vision. Contributed photo

Mike Schickerowski, 44, was finally able to get his driver’s licence earlier this month. The Benalto man was born legally blind and received surgery in 2018 to correct his vision. Contributed photo

Just Posted

(Contributed)
Red Deer Regional Health Foundation receives $40K in donations

Donations from Canadian Pacific and Durham family of Red Deer

NDP MP Heather McPherson pictured in Edmonton on Friday, March 6, 2020. Alberta’s legislature may have been silenced but its partisan warfare has relocated to the House of Commons as MPs hold an emergency debate tonight on the province’s soaring COVID-19 cases. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Kenney under fire during Commons emergency debate on Alberta’s COVID-19 crisis

Edmonton New Democrat MP says Kenney ignored the evidence of science

A General Motors sign in Oshawa, Ont., is photographed on Wednesday, June 20, 2018. General Motors Canada says it will start truck production at its assembly plant in Oshawa, Ont., ahead of schedule. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
Oshawa assembly plant restart ahead of schedule, GM Canada says

Closure of plant in 2019 was huge blow to Canada’s manufacturing sector

FILE - In this Jan. 24, 2019, file photo, a woman walks by the Australian Embassy in Beijing. China on Thursday, May 6, 2021 suspended an economic dialogue with Australia, stepping up a pressure campaign that began over Australian support for a probe into the origins of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
China suspends economic dialogue with Australia

China’s relations with Australia, India and some other neighbours are increasingly strained

LtE bug
Letter: Restrictions are a crime against humanity

I was distressed to note the seemingly superficial understanding of the holocaust… Continue reading

LtE bug
Letter: Follow restrictions so pandemic can be behind us

From one who feels that COVID could have been overcome long ago… Continue reading

LtE bug
Letter: Westerner needs help now

I have spent the last few days sifting through many pieces of… Continue reading

Jets beat Flames 4-0 to snap seven-game losing streak and clinch playoff spot

Jets beat Flames 4-0 to snap seven-game losing streak and clinch playoff spot

Most Read