To the People Who Said 'Let's Give It a Try'


No.

It’s a word we hear a lot. As a 17-year-old, I’m told “no” sometimes on an hourly basis. This may have to do with the fact that I ask the difficult questions… but that’s a topic for another day.

See, if i had a dollar for every time someone has told me, “Sorry, but no, you cannot do that,” I would be rich — not let’s-buy-five-convertibles rich, but rich.

I have an inherited genetic condition called oculocutaneous albinism, that causes a lack of pigment in my skin, hair and eyes. Since my body doesn’t produce the coloring I need in my eyes to see, I’m blind. Because I have little pigment in my skin, I can become a lobster in less than five minuets when outside. The sun is my frenemy — without it, I can’t see a darn thing but too much and all I see is pure white.

Between my blindness and my extreme sun sensitivities, I cannot even begin to count the times I’ve been told “no” because it would be “too dangerous” for me to participate.

But I also don’t think I could count all the times someone has told me or my parents, “If she wants to, let’s give it a try.”

I can not begin to thank the people who looked past my disabilities and let me be a kid. Thank you.

Thank you for allowing me to participate on an equal level with my able-bodied peers.

Because it’s not every day a blind girl whose arch nemesis is the sun gets to play soccer and t-ball or swim competitively on a community team for 12 years or play in band and participate in marching band. It’s not every day someone like me gets to attempt more daring things like downhill skiing, ice skating, rollerskating, rock climbing, hiking and zip-lining.

marching band

Thank you, not just to the adults who have supported me throughout this time but also to the other kids who may have had to adapt their playing and wait around a little more so I had the chance to just be a kid.

I also love taking pictures and working on my photography skills. You can see some of my photos on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/photoswithoutsight.

For all of December, The Mighty is celebrating the moments we gave or received a gift that touched our lives in a special way. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post describing this moment for you. Include a photo and 1-2 sentence bio to [email protected].
Hint! Some gifts don’t come in packages.

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