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  1. A Lifelong Love of Sports Leads to Building Beautiful Lives

    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…

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  2. Living with Retinitis Pigmentosa – and Learning to Accept What’s Coming Next

    I was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic condition that gradually causes vision loss, at 5 – and growing up with this condition was not always easy. I’m 20 now, and only have my central vision left. Living with RP In primary and secondary school, I tried my best to hide it, but it did not work. I had to ask to sit closer to the front of classrooms and make any text on projector screens as big as possible. At this time, I kept wishing that I were normal…

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  3. Aniridia, Acceptance and Building the Live Accessible Community

    As a young, shy girl with a visual impairment, I felt isolated and alone in crowded school hallways. I questioned my worth and was surrounded by self-doubt. There are so many stories of blind people not only succeeding at life, but thriving – yet I felt ostracized, incapable, unaccepted and lost. I grew up with aniridia syndrome alongside my sister, father and grandmother – all of whom also had this hereditary condition. My brother was totally deaf, though fully sighted. My mom was the only one without a disability. I…

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  4. Blind, But Not Beaten

    At the age of around 18 months, my parents rushed me to the doctor after I fell down a flight of 30 steps. I was diagnosed as being blind as the result of a rapidly growing brain tumor. I had surgery and the tumor was successfully removed—I would live, but I didn’t escape unscathed. Besides being blind, I had no sense of smell, and no endocrine system, which meant that I had no thyroid, no adrenal function and the list goes on. It could have been much worse. It was…

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  5. The Woman Who “Broke the Internet” Demonstrating that #BlindPeopleUsePhones

    While sitting with a good friend one day enjoying her company, she asked me about my phone and to how much I was able to use it. She wondered if she were to send me a web link to something, would my phone read it to me. At the time of our talk, I just responded with a simple explanation that my phone reads any text on the screen, and that I can navigate all of my phone’s apps, settings and features. It was a rather short conversation and we…

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  6. Run Your Day, or Your Day Will Run You

    I vividly remember the incessant hammering of the MRI machine, the seven vials of blood drawn on two separate occasions, the car rides to and from the appointments, preliminary testing by an ophthalmologist that seemed right out of a sci-fi novel, and my parents leaving the pediatrician’s office in tears after hearing the initial findings and dire possibilities of disease. We weren’t prepared for the psychological sh*tstorm that would ensue after the diagnosis of optic nerve hypoplasia was delivered at the age of 9. I began to really suffer psychologically…

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  7. Rock Bottom, Then Rocking the Road to Recovery

    Trigger warning: this post contains mentions of drug/alcohol use, suicide and self-harm   My name is Ashley. I’m 21 years old and I became blind at the age of 17 from a drug overdose. On November 1, 2016, I attempted suicide and was officially dead for 17 minutes. Ever since then, I’ve been learning how to be a blind person and cope with the reality of what I did to myself. As the years have gone on, I have started to understand and accept myself. I have begun to realize…

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  8. A Digital Content Creator Defined Only by Her Dreams

    My name is Gabriella Mendonca and I am a digital content creator. A singer. A college student majoring in communications in digital media. A daughter. This is my story – because my disability does not define who I am. I was born with vision, but lost my sight at the age of 18 months due to a tumor on my optic nerve. Losing my vision has never stopped me from achieving my goals and chasing after my dreams. I have always attended mainstream schools instead of the schools created for…

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  9. Seeing Without Seeing: Visual Art from a Blind Artist

    Hi my name is Clarke. I’m blind, and I’m also a visual artist. Art is my life – from an early age, all I ever wanted to be was an artist. My mum used to say that I could draw before I could walk. For me, it was escapism because, from the age of 4, I started to lose sight in my right eye. I was going to the hospital every week, getting patches and drops in my good eye in an effort to help, but it never did. I…

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  10. Working Through Sight Loss While Pursuing a Passion for Pizza

    I’m Giorgio and my family and I run a pizzeria here in Toronto called Frank’s Pizza House. I’m married with six kids – and there’s never a dull moment, I can promise you that. My goal has always been to make pizzas and share my passion for pizza-making until I can retire. Now, in addition to that, I’m looking forward to many new adventures because I’m losing my vision to advanced glaucoma. It’s sounds bad, but it’s not – I was diagnosed with glaucoma in my late teens. Now, at…

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