Kate Adams Keller is Helen's mother. Though her daughter Helen is born normally, the child contracts scarlet fever, a disease which leaves her blind and deaf. Kate discovers this tragedy one day after Helen's illness; she passes her hand over her daughter's eyes and Helen fails to register any recognition. She also does not hear a ringing bell. The observation confirms the worst; Helen would remain blind and deaf for the remainder of her life. Fortunately, with the help of Annie Sullivan, the teacher who comes to help Helen, she is able to not only communicate, but even attend college.