Hi, my name is Erica Powell! I am a fitness professional, marathon runner and national keynote speaker.
#MyBlindStory started when I was 6 months old. I was diagnosed with a rare cancer called retinoblastoma-bilateral – cancerous tumors in my retinas. After numerous operations and aggressive treatment, I have now been cancer-free for over 20 years!
But as a result of my radiation treatment, I have been experiencing progressive vision loss throughout my entire life.
My vision really started to decline as I was hitting my teenage high school years, and back then I was so embarrassed of it! Finally, when I decided to take pride in who I was (blindness included), a world of opportunity opened up for me!
As a freshman in college, I became the first blind division one scholarship athlete at Clemson University. I was a cheerleader on their football, basketball, and national competition teams all four years I was there.
Being an athlete with a disability and being fully included was such an eye opener for me. It was absolutely a life-changing experience, but it also made me more aware of the stigma and stereotypes that people have of individuals who are blind. I decided to use that platform to help tear down those negative stereotypes and share the power of disability pride! I now continue that mission in all that I do.
Today, I am an entrepreneur running two businesses. Through Erica Powell Enterprises, I travel the country speaking to audiences large and small about the power of self-advocacy and taking pride in disability. Through Fitness by Erica Powell, my most recent venture, I empower people to experience their fitness! With workout plans, virtual coaching and live group fitness team trainings, I share my message of “fitness is more than what meets the eye.”
Without #MyBlindStory I would not be nearly as confident or motivated – and I definitely wouldn’t be impacting the number of lives that I’ve been able to impact so far.
Blindness has taught me to love every single part of myself, and that has led to a life full of experiences I could have never imagined! Blindness does not define who I am, but it is one of the many qualities that make me who I am. I believe that when we fully love and accept every single part of who we are, we become unstoppable!