My name is Bryce Weiler. I was born almost four months premature, and shortly after my birth – due too much light or oxygen in the hospital – I developed an eye condition called retinopathy of prematurity, which caused me to become blind.
Today, I’m the cofounder of The Beautiful Lives Project, a nonprofit that helps people with disabilities across the United States live their dreams in sports, performing arts, visual arts, nature and more.
A Lifelong Love of Sports…
During my time at the University of Evansville from 2010 through 2014, where I studied sports management, I had the amazing opportunity to sit in with the Evansville Aces men’s basketball team.
Sitting on the Evansville basketball bench changed my life because it gave me the opportunity to experience sports and to be a part of a college basketball team, which was something I had always dreamed about being able to do. I am forever thankful to the former Evansville coach Marty Simmons for giving me this chance – it inspired me to give back to help people with disabilities to live their dreams, break down barriers and eradicate stereotypes.
Using my experience on the Evansville basketball bench as inspiration, I became the disability consultant for the Baltimore Orioles in 2016. With the Orioles, I have ensured that their home stadium, Camden Yards, and their spring training stadium, Ed Smith Stadium, are accessible for fans of all abilities.
In 2018, I helped the Orioles become the first team in sports to wear braille on their jerseys to honor people who are blind, and to show the importance of people who are blind learning how to read braille.
… Leads to Building Beautiful Lives
In 2017, I became the cofounder of The Beautiful Lives Project. Anthony Iacovone, the owner of the New Britain Bees baseball team in New Britain, Connecticut, gave me the opportunity to do “field of dreams” programs, where people with disabilities could play on the field with the Bees.
Since then, we have done the same type of programs with many teams across the country in baseball, as well as “court of dreams” programs with basketball and similar projects with football and other sports.
In 2018, The Beautiful Lives Project expanded to give people with disabilities the opportunity to experience other kinds of programs – including cheerleading, dance, ballet, art, music and more. Bringing diverse backgrounds and people together fosters an environment of inclusiveness.
We have chapter presidents across the country who help people with disabilities to live their dreams and to experience opportunities that otherwise might have not been available to them. We are always searching for more chapter presidents – we can train these leaders on fundraising, community organizing and recruitment.
And, donations always help. All funds raised support Beautiful Lives Project chapters across the country and give people with disabilities the opportunity to live their dreams. To donate or to learn more, visit BeautifulLives.org/Donate.
About the Author
Bryce Weiler’s passion for sports on the radio led him to commentating on radio sports broadcasts for the University of Evansville, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Sports Management and Communication, and Western Illinois University, where he earned a master’s degree in Sports Administration. After college, Bryce began developing programs for fans with disabilities.