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  1. Mission: Live Life Fully, Make a Difference, and Redefine Possible

    With an amazing team of individuals, I am setting off as a blind cancer survivor the day after I graduate from college on May 22nd to climb the highest mountain in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro. In the process, my team is working on raising $500,000 for charities and organizations that not only saved my life, but gave me the strength and the tools to start living again. I realize that the amount of support I had greatly contributed to my success, and I want to make sure children facing life threatening…

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  2. Changing the World, One Person at a Time

    I was 17 years old when I was told that the life I had planned for myself was simply not possible. I was sitting in an ophthalmology exam room after hours of testing, waiting to get answers. I was very aware that my vision was not normal. I had been wearing glasses since I was in first grade, and every year when I visited the optometrist, they told me I needed a stronger prescription. I had told numerous people, both in school and at home that I could not see…

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  3. Stand by Me RP

    My story began three years ago when, at the age of 38, I was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa. My life changed forever that day and it was the start of the biggest challenge my family had ever faced. Within the first week of my diagnosis I was declared severely sight impaired (legally blind) and lost my job after being told I’d never drive again. We were plunged in to debt and I fell in to a spiral of anxiety, depression and isolation as my sight began to decline rapidly. We…

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  4. Beginning to an End

    My name is Jamie. I wrote the poem below several years ago. It reflects my experience when I was diagnosed with RP (Retinitis Pigmentosa). I have come a long way since the diagnosis and have embraced my new life with little sight. I have since retired from a job of 28 years. New doors have opened within the blind community. I volunteer and am working part time at a blind center in my area. I am attending city college for the first time in my life and a member of…

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  5. Afraid of the Dark

    I remember, when I was young, being afraid of the dark. I recall running into my parents’ bedroom to hurry and turn the lights on and run back. It is funny when I think about it now, but I never really understood the reason I was so afraid. Maybe it was just the unknown – but it would be a feeling I would never forget. In August of 2013, I lost my eyesight to diabetic retinopathy. At this time, I was 28 years old and I had just become a…

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  6. The Braille Trail

    Born blind and growing up in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, hiking has always been a part of my life. As a small child, I recall climbing the mountains with the help of my white cane and picking berries. The sound of the creek, crickets, and sweet smell of honeysuckles were a familiar part of growing up. My family and friends have always described the beautiful scenery around me. What I enjoy most is the incredible fragrances, various textures, and sounds of the forest and how the seasons bring…

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  7. A Lesson in Courage

    I came from a family that was uncomfortable with differences. I was made to feel inferior by all of them. My husband was the first person who showed me that it was OK to be me and that I was someone with value. He couldn’t see me and told me I was pretty. He was smart and did so many things on his own. I thought if he can, so can I. I am the happy wife of Jerry who is blind and has Parkinson’s. He has taught me to…

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  8. As long as I trust and believe, I can accomplish anything

    I was sighted my entire life, until at the age of 27, I lost all of my eyesight from diabetic retinopathy. I was a single mom, working to support my family, and now I lost my site in a matter of three months, lost my job and could not see to do anything. I felt like my life is over and that my only option was giving up. I could not have been more wrong. This is not the end of my life, but rather the beginning to an incredible…

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  9. Blindness + Style = Confidence

    Prior to losing my sight, I used to think that when a person used a white cane, it meant they were totally blind (no light perception). I was wrong. The range of sight loss/blindness is enormous and differs greatly from one person to the next. Contrary to popular belief—after the acceptance of, and acclimation to sight loss—though life has significantly changed, for the most part we remain the same. With few exceptions, the things we loved and excelled at are still integral to who we are at our core. Transitioning…

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  10. Matt Chao Blind Sailor

    A blind sailor? Those words sound like an oxymoron. Yet, for more than half his life, racing sailboats continues to be a challenge and passion. As the life-partner of Matt and his “shore support” aka: wheels for the past thirty plus years, we thought you might like to learn about his incredible story. While Matt uses his Seeing Eye Dog, Quill to get around town, since Quill hasn’t learned to drive, that’s my job. Matt and I met in Boston, ’cause his then canine partner, Josie was a chick magnet….

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