Remembering Danielle Chason
Since completing my certification (COVT) in 2008, my estimation is I’ve mentored close to thirty other Vision Therapists through the process. All them have been hard workers, all of them have been memorable, and all of them made it through. Aside from the academic completion, the best part for me has always been and will continue to be the human factor. Nothing like a smile and hug when they’ve reached the finish line. In perusing my own Facebook photos, there are many memories of those moments to be cherished. One of my more memorable mentees, Danielle Chason, completed her certification in 2016 at COVD’s Annual Meeting. No one smiled bigger, that’s pretty obvious. She was so proud to receive her certification, and clearly, those in her life proud of her.
After returning from a weekend camping trip with my son this morning, I was sad to learn Danielle died in her sleep over the weekend. She was just 44 years old.
Danielle came to the world of Vision Therapy from the land of education and was as determined as anyone I’ve encountered. Like so many of us, Danielle brought many incredible strengths to her Vision Therapy room; her love of her patients among the most obvious. The personal goal of achieving certification was important to Danielle, second only to the knowledge that the additional learning would benefit her patients incredibly. There were many nights via email or by way of phone call where she would ecstatically make connections between an abstract concept we were discussing and a patient she was currently treating. As for most of us, those moments became more and more exciting for her as she realized she had yet another tool for helping others. Danielle also had her own set of challenges, which she often discussed openly and honestly. Throughout her certification, and I suspect her life, she had a habit of thinking through a concept, re-thinking it, re-thinking it again, rethinking it some more, and then over-thinking it ad nauseam, all the while calling my cell phone for an opinion at every step along the way. In the months following her COVT completion, she would laugh as I playful ribbed “my cell phone bill had decreased by 200%” since April. She enjoyed a good joke even if was at her own expense, as some of her finest qualities were the honesty and humor which were never far from her lips, even when it meant discussing her own shortcomings.
Danielle had recently decided to move on from the Vision Therapy world. Although we maintained contact through a distant friendship, admittedly due to the busyness of both our lives, contact became less and less over time. In her own way, and for her own reasons, she most certainly will always be one of my more memorable mentees. My hope is her family finds the love and peace they so desperately need in this time of sudden and unexpected loss.
For anyone wishing to send supportive message to Danielle’s family, or perhaps to make a contribution in her name, information can be found here.