Last December, local art teacher Danice Sweet was diagnosed with macular edema due to diabetic retinopathy.

Chet and Danice Sweet
Chet and Danice Sweet

“The retinologist explained it to me like this: Because of diabetic retinopathy, the eye starts compensating by growing extra blood vessels. These extra blood vessels cloud the vision and can lead to blindness,” Sweet said.

But this diagnosis came about only after a series of accidents.

“I fell flat on my face four times and experienced a blood hemorrhage in my left eye, before realizing something was wrong,” she said.

Sweet now is seeking help to raise funds for the surgery needed in one of her eyes.

“Some teachers I work with insisted on starting a GoFundMe page,” she said. Sweet created the page to raise $3,200 before March 3.

She is well on the way to reaching her goal, but still needs more than $1,000 to do so.

Sweet has been an art teacher in Arkansas City for 28 years. During some of that time, she worked for Cowley College.

Currently, she is employed by USD 470 as an art teacher. But the macular edema could affect her ability to create and teach.

“The retinologist said I would lose colors first. Sunsets would become monochromatic — shades of gray,” she said. “I’m a painter and illustrator of five books.”

Sweet also has done missionary work that was directly related to eyesight.

“I’ve been on missionary trips to Ukraine and (the) Philippines with eyeglasses and medical supplies with our music group Revival,” Sweet said. “Never dreamed I’d be needing help because of the possibility of losing my sight.”

When she first noticed there was an issue, her husband, Chet, insisted she have her vision checked.

“My husband insisted I get to Dr. Abbey, (who) ran several tests and referred me to a retinologist in Wichita,” she said.

While her right eye still is in need of medical attention, she already has had surgery to save the sight in her left eye.

“The surgery has been effective on my left eye,” Sweet said. She and her husband hope the surgery will be just as successful for her right eye.

“I am humbled and so grateful for all the donations. … Thank you so much — hope has been restored and hopefully eyesight will soon (be also),” she said.

To donate to Sweet’s medical care, visit www.gofundme.com/danices-medical-need.

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