In 1997 Cheryl lost her sense of balance and the ability to know where she was in space.   Then in 2010 it was discovered she had a brain aneurysm that required surgery.   In the summer of 2013, she developed seizures secondary to her brain surgery.

Pioneered by renowned and esteemed Dr.  Paul Bach-y-Rita, Cheryl took part in ground-breaking neuroplasticity sensory substitution research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  She became “Subject Zero” as well as a co-investigator in this research which developed the Brain Port, a device that re-trains the brain by using one sense to take the place of one damaged, in this case, her loss of balance. It was this experience that set the stage for her now remarkable life.

Cheryl’s experiences have been featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, Discover Magazine, New Scientist Magazine, National Geographic, PBS, On Wisconsin, and Wisconsin Public Television.  

Dr.  Norman Doidge featured Cheryl’s experiences in his New York Times best-selling book, “The Brain That Changes Itself. ” and was also filmed in the documentary of his research and findings leading up to his book.  Dr. Doidge went on to author another New York Times best-seller, “The Brains Way of Healing” where her experiences are shared.

Cheryl earned a BS in Rehabilitation Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and went on to work in the disability field including vocational rehabilitation, youth transition, independent living, and disability advocacy and support.  She has served as a Board of Director for Access to Independence, an Independent Living Center, and for Movin’ Out who assist people with disabilities obtain home ownership.

As a Board of Director and Facilitator for The Employability Project, their mission is to help those with autism or other barriers successfully transition to fulfilling employment through the “Student Transition to Employment Program (STEP).” 

Cheryl is a member of the Wisconsin Women’s Entrepreneurs, and various photography groups. Her work has been included in exhibits and gained various awards.

Cheryl lives in Madison, Wisconsin where with great joy spends time with her family and many friends.  She absolutely loves photography, hiking, writing and public speaking.

Her motto is “Let your light shine.”

You can see Cheryl’s photography on Cheryl Schiltz Photography