A trucker who lost his eyesight after a bizarre sickness has found a way to stay active and involved in the industry he knows and loves, despite his lack of sight.
Trucker Roel Cano got into trucking as soon as he turned 18, driving the rig he called “Big Blue” across the eastern United States and taking in all the freedom, sights, and paychecks that came with the job.
“I liked driving big rigs a lot,” he said to WGN 9 News.
“I wanted to get in the big trucks.”
Then, one day at Calumet Park Beach in Chicago, Illinois with his wife, Cano had an experience that changed his life.
“I dived into the water and when I rose up, I just had a twinkle numbness in my foot… It started curling around and around and around and around. Then it went to my other leg and up to my waist. I already knew something was wrong,” he explained.
Cano says his eyes then rolled back in his head and he lost consciousness. Luckily, a lifeguard was able to help his wife pull him from the water and call an ambulance, which promptly transported him to a nearby hospital.
Once in the hospital, tests revealed Cano had high blood sugar and high potassium, which sent him into a sort of seizure. During his stay, he started to notice things still didn’t seem quite right.
“I started losing my eyesight within a week,” he explained.
“It was getting cloudier and cloudier. I told the doctor what was going on and he said it’s just a reboot from your body restarting.”
But later, when a specialist examined Cano, it was discovered that his retinas were detaching and there was nothing they could do to prevent his vision from slipping away.
Cano says that the first few years of his blindness were tough, and that coping with his new disability, along with the loss of his beloved trucking career, zapped his motivation.
“I didn’t want to do anything,” he said.
Then, three years later, Cano attended a school for the blind, which helped him learn to navigate the world without his sight, and met Andrew Fogaty – a man working at the Illinois Small Business Development Center who believed in Cano and helped him develop a business plan and find funding for his own trucking company, Cano Logistics.
“I had a lot of confidence in Roel,” Fogaty said.
“And there’s no reason why he couldn’t do it. It was just he knows the business very well he has an outgoing personality to get those contracts. We just needed to get him a truck.”
So that’s what the two did. Cano now has a truck and a driver, for which he acts as a dispatcher, and is saving up to add even more rigs to his fleet.
“It felt good when I went to pick it [the truck] up,” Cano explained.
“It felt like ‘ooooh I get to have my own baby!’”
A GoFundMe has been set up for Cano Logistics to help speed up the acquisition of a new truck and anyone interested in donating can visit the page, “blind guy needs a truck,” here.