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  1. Suddenly Sightless

    When you lose your sight, it can make you feel incredibly lonely. The feeling of isolation, the snatch of your independence and the knock of your confidence with everyday life is a massive impact. The overwhelming feeling of grief is awful. You yearn for what you have lost, unknown whether it will return or not. At least that’s how we felt. I’m Laura. My first noticeable decline was February 2016 – the cause of which is still unknown. As time went on, I eventually lost my career as a lab…

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  2. An Iron Will Makes An IRONMAN

    A little bit about me: I am an 18-year-old high-school senior from St. Paul, Minnesota. I have Stargardt Disease and I’m significantly visually impaired. A couple of years ago I started a non-profit called Louie’s Vision that works to help kids with visual impairments find adventure. About a year ago, I approached my parents and told them I wanted to do the Ironman, a one-day race that consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a full 26.2-mile marathon. I was just 17 years old, had no experience…

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  3. Roll Forever

    My name is Dan Mancina, I am from Michigan outside of Detroit. I was born with retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a disease that has deteriorated my vision throughout my life. I have lost about 95 percent of my vision so far. I have been skating since I was about seven years old and am now 31. When I had lost the majority of my functional vision about six years ago, I stopped skating all together, and would not even leave my house without a human guide. I felt very lost and…

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  4. Dream Job: Working with Guide Dogs

    I work at a non-profit organization that trains guide dogs for the visually impaired. As a “puppy Kindergarten manager,” I coordinate with dedicated volunteers and staff members to create a good foundation for our puppies who will grow up to be companions and guides. We expose them to body handling, different surfaces, and different noises in order to prepare them for the world outside the kennel environment. Then, at about 12 weeks old, our puppies go home with volunteer puppy-raisers for just over a year to be exposed to a…

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  5. My RP Secret

    My name is Dave Steele. I’m a singer and poet from the UK who, since being diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa in 2013, has dedicated my life to raising awareness for visually impaired people worldwide through poetry and music. Following is a poem I wrote for my daughter, Ellie. The Secret It took me years to come to terms with how my eyes declined Through stages of acceptance of slowly going blind But nothing I could ever do would allow me to prepare To tell my little girl the thing I…

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  6. When It Comes to Demanding Access, Take the Big Swing

    I am a 14 year old blind skier, horseback rider, cross-country runner, Challenger Little League baseball player, singer, musician, voiceover artist, radio personality, advocate, student lobsterman and geek supreme from a small fishing village named Beals Island, Maine. Oh, and one more thing you should know, I’m a huge Boston Red Sox fan! I was born totally blind from a rare genetic condition known as Leber’s congenital amaurosis (LCA); because of this, I’ve been thrown lots of curveballs in my life. I’ve been bullied in school to the point of…

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  7. Not Just A Smart Cane – a Movement to Raise Role Models

    Young Guru Academy (YGA) is a non-profit organization founded in Turkey in 2000 that cultivates selfless leaders to realize the dream of a brighter future for the younger generations. One of the program’s graduates, Kürşat Ceylan, has emerged as an award-winning social entrepreneur who has spoken at the United Nations – and who is still leading the technologies that YGA develops, specifically those for visually impaired people. “YGA works on breakthrough social innovations to inspire people and give hope. Our latest technology is WeWALK, a revolutionary smart cane for the…

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  8. Our Nystagmus Story

    When my baby daughter was 6 weeks old, somebody wearing a white coat told me she was blind. She wasn’t blind. I knew that. But I also knew there was something wrong with her eyes. It turned out to be nystagmus. I’d never heard of it before. From that day on, our nystagmus journey began. Nystagmus is characterized by uncontrolled eye movements, which make focusing very difficult. It is a lifelong condition and cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. Most people with this condition have impaired depth and…

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  9. Renegades

    “Long live the pioneers Rebels and mutineers Go forth and have no fear… It’s our time to make a move It’s our time to make amends It’s our time to break the rules Let’s begin” –X Ambassadors, Renegades   Earlier this month, I was at the X Ambassadors concert here in Minneapolis. I have been a fan since I first heard them. I went with my family, friends and a few people from the Louie’s Vision Board of Directors. The show was above and beyond what I could have expected….

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  10. Strong, Comfortable, Confident – and Ready to Do It Again

    My name is Begoña Manterola and I’m from San Sebastian in the Basque Country of North Spain. I used to work as a hairdresser. When I was 35, doctors told me I had Retinitis Pigmentosa – but it wasn’t until I was 50 that I had to stop working because I was becoming completely blind. Since then, I have focused my life on reinforcing my personal growth. I do theatre, yoga, Pilates and hiking. Recently, I decided to tackle a new adventure – snowshoeing.   On this trip, we snowshoed…

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