CHICAGO (WGN) -- Even as a young boy, Roel Cano knew driving a truck was for him. As soon as he turned 18, he got his commercial driver’s license and got behind the wheel.
“I liked driving big rigs a lot,” he said. “I wanted to get in the big trucks.”
Cano called his truck Big Blue and they went all over the eastern U.S. including Ohio, Virginia and Florida.
For nearly a decade, he saw the sights and enjoyed the freedom and paycheck that came with it.
Until a very unusual day with his wife at Calumet Park Beach.
“I dived into the water and when I rose up, I just had a twinkle numbness in my foot,” he said. “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.”
Cano said his eyes rolled back and he lost consciousness. A passerby and a lifeguard helped his wife pull him from the water, but he doesn’t remember anything until waking up later in the ambulance.
A series of tests revealed high blood sugar and high potassium sent him into a seizure.
Problems worsened in the days ahead.
“I started losing my eyesight within a week,” he said. “It was getting cloudy and cloudie. I told the doctor what was going on and he said it’s just a reboot from your body restarting.”
A specialist determined the retina’s in both eyes were detaching ad despite treatment, Cano’s vision was slipping away.
“I didn’t want to do anything.”
Three years after losing his sight ad attending a school for the blind, Cano met Andrew Fogaty at the Illinois Small Business Development Center to help the former truck driver get back into the industry he loves, in spite of his disability.
Fogaty helped Cano develop a business plan, find funding and just a few months ago, Cano Logistics was born.
“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.”
Cano is a busy man these days, dispatching his truck and driver, handling schedules and maintenance and saving to one day become a fleet.