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  1. An Early Arrival

    It is amazing when you hear a miraculous story over and over again how ordinary it becomes. It is like a song that is played repetitively on the radio – you can’t wait to hear it, but then it is requested constantly so it doesn’t seem quite as special anymore. I cannot count the number of times I have heard about my birth. It was told to me so many times that I almost believe I was there to experience the whole thing as an observer! I was born premature,…

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  2. Inclusion

    I’m a mother to my 17-year-old daughter. She lost her sight 3 ½ years ago to a brain tumor. I have watched her work hard to gain the physical skills necessary to function independently in a sighted world. I have watched her learn and practice the reading and technological skills necessary to participate in school and future professions. The hardest thing to watch is her social struggles. She can do her part, but it requires another willing participant to have a conversion, let alone a relationship. I saw BlindNewWorld and…

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  3. Unseen Obstacles Ahead, but Tapping Out a Positive Future

    Here is a cocktail napkin version of my story. I had excellent vision until the age of 34, never wore glasses. My world started getting darker, and moving objects suddenly disappeared from sight – not good when driving. My initial academic goal was to get a Bachelors in Information Technology (IT). Life hands you a lemon, make some lemonade. I changed my major to Psychology. The brain and the mind for me were analogous to computers and software, just a little more complex. Earned my B.A. in Psychology with a…

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  4. Being a Kid is Dangerous…

    I just read that blindness is the third most feared physical condition after only cancer and AIDS. I’m blind, but I’m not scared. Most blind kids aren’t scared. I’m sure that number would be completely different if you only surveyed those with blindness. However, fear is a pretty powerful thing. And feeling the fear of others – parents, relatives, teachers, and friends – can be very limiting for a blind kid. I had a conversation last year with a well-respected leader in the blind community. He is in his 70s…

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  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. 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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