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  1. There Aren’t Any Shortcuts to Make Beautiful Things

    My name is Ana Cristina and I’m a deafblind jewelry designer. I am 40 years old and I haven’t ever felt as blessed and complete as I do now. But it took me some time to get here, and this is my story. The long road to diagnosis It was 2 p.m., our calculus professor wrote an equation on the board for us to compute mentally: no papers, no calculators. Just our eager young competitive brains crunching out numbers, because whoever won this round got extra credit plus pizza.  I…

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  2. Action Is the Antidote: Reviving Hope in Hard Times

    My word for 2021 was heal. 2020’s was connect. Instead of resolutions, every New Year’s Day I choose a verb to live by for the year. After an isolating pandemic and inherited retinal disease (IRD) diagnosis, both words seem wildly ironic. Last month – weeks after losing my dad unexpectedly – I was diagnosed with a rare inherited retinal disease called Stargardt’s. Affecting roughly one in 10,000 people, Stargardt’s causes progressive vision loss and eventually blindness. This disease, like many others, is the result of a genetic mutation. There was…

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  3. Sharing My Story from the TEDx Stage

    At my first meeting with the TEDx Minneapolis team, I met six speaking coaches – all professional speakers. They shared what the next four months of editing, refining and training would be like. It’s a very rigorous process and I quickly understood why all of those TED Talks I’ve seen are so good. Then they launched into their first and most important piece of advice. They said there would be three monitors at my feet – one monitor with a clock, one with my notes, and the final monitor with…

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  4. Losing My Sight – and Finding My Way to “This Is Us”

    My name is Blake Stadnik. I was born and raised in Western Pennsylvania. When I was six years old, I began having trouble seeing the chalkboard in school. After a number of visits to the doctor, I was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a degenerative genetic condition that affects the light-sensitive cells in the retina. I was legally blind within nine months. I had been starting to play sports like many other children in my hometown, but I could no longer see the ball. My mother thought I might enjoy taking…

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  5. A Look Back at 2018: These Are the Stories of the #BlindNewWorld

    2018 has been another incredible year in the BlindNewWorld. We love hearing – and sharing – your stories of adventure, triumph, love, family, learning and so much more. These stories are what keep us going – and what keep our community strong. And we don’t want you to miss a single one of them. So to close out the year, we’re bringing together the full collection of 2018 #MyBlindStory posts. Get to know each and every one of the people who have shared their stories with us this year. And…

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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. Breakthrough Tech for the Blind and Visually Impaired

    According to the National Federation of the Blind, there are an estimated 7 million Americans with a visual disability. And according to the World Health Organization, there are 285 million visually impaired people worldwide. That means there are many people out there who are searching for solutions to help them live more independently. We’re lucky to live in a world where the advancements in technology are outstanding. There is a lot of work and research being done to find ways to improve life for partially sighted and blind people. Reading and recognition devices are…

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  9. 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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  10. When I look in the mirror

    If you’re really curious about this photo, keep reading! My name is Nysha, I’m 25 years old, I have a retinal disease called Stargardt’s and this is what I see when I look in the mirror.  Stargardt’s is a juvenile form of macular degeneration characterized by a slow and progressive loss of central vision.  For many of us, we begin to loss our vision very slowly at first.  Then we might experience a period of more rapid vision loss.  Eventually, it is expected that our vision loss will plateau.  I…

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