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Making Social Connections on my Journey to Blindness

Since being diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, staying active and building social connections have been especially important to David Yerks-Young. So he's created communities - both online and off - for people who are blind and visually impaired.

A selfie of David Yerks-Young, a white man with white hair and a white beard wearing glasses, looking serious for the camera

I was born with full sight. No visual problems until I turned 40. Even then, I just needed glasses for doing anything up close – something that was important as a busy hairdresser.

Then I was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa (RP).

Before I became legally blind, I was always active – physically, mentally, or a combination of the two.

And I still like to challenge myself: hiking through a rainforest or canyon, flying in an open cockpit bi-wing plane doing aerobatics, flying a glider plane, bungee cord jumping, and getting certified in scuba diving. I continue the search.

Connecting with peers in the blindness community

I may be 70 years old, but I am young in spirit and enjoy getting out of the house and being with like-minded people.

I created a website called Blind Eye on the Desert in the hopes of bringing the visually impaired / blind community in and around Palm Springs, California, together for social activities (i.e., walking, meeting for coffee, movies, etc.).

Since the creation of my website, I have become a board member for Coachella Valley Visually Impaired Community Services as their Social Events Director.

I am also active in SoCal Adaptive Sports with hiking and (my new love) archery. This is the group where I have found what I was looking for: active visually impaired people.

For more info about how I work with my colleagues at Coachella Valley Visually Impaired Community Services to bring together folks who are blind and visually impaired, watch this interview with our local news station, KESQ:

Video description: David sits with two colleagues in a news studio, being interviewed by a reporter. A screen behind them reads, “Eye on the Desert.”

About the author

David Yerks-Young is an active member of the blindness community in Palm Springs, California. You can learn more about him on his website, or connect with him via Facebook or by email.

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