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Brooklyn Woman Overcomes Losing Her Vision To Keep Cooking Christmas Eve Dinner For Family

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Brooklyn woman who lost her eyesight doesn't let that stop her from making Christmas bright!

Cooking is her favorite activity and thanks to a local non-profit she's still able to do it. She invited CBS2's Lisa Rozner over to show her how it's done.

"Two cups and a half… this is the beeper or sensor that lets me know the cup is full."

Yvonne Whitehurst (Credit: CBS2)

On Christmas Eve, there's beeping, boiling, and baking going on in Yvonne Whitehurst's Bed-Stuy kitchen. The 72-year-old can't totally see what's in front of her. She relies on her sense of touch and hearing.

"I cook so much now I can just shake and I know," Whitehurst said.

Nearly 17 years ago she was diagnosed with glaucoma. She has no vision in one eye and low vision in the other.

"The doctor said you're going blind I will never forget that… I was depressed for a good while."

The Manhattan-based nonprofit VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired came to her kitchen and gave her tools like red buttons that help her find the start button on the oven.

"They would come every week and show me things to do and so I started coming out of my shell… The holidays is when I get to show off. People say 'you can still do that? You can still do that?' yes I can still do that," the 72-year-old explained.

"You just have to have patience."

In an hour's time CBS2 saw her whip up mac and cheese, her own vegetable medley, and chicken wings!

"She's a seasoned cook, knows how to put ingredients in, it's in her head," Lillian Brown said.

"She knows how to make turkey she makes ham… I eat everything."

"I have friends and family call is mom cookin? Is she cookin?" Whitehurst's daughter, Yolanda joked.

"The things she does on a daily basis encourages me to do more," her husband Farris Pruitt added.

"She's here, laughs, couldn't ask for anything more, she's just a beautiful person she really is."

"When there's no talking that means they're eating so I like that," Whitehurst said.

She plans to have six guests Tuesday night, but she says anyone who rings the doorbell is welcome. So who knows what may happen!

Yvonne says every holiday she likes to send each family member home with a pie. She also teaches dance classes to others with low vision.

For more information about VISIONS services, see their website at

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