When She Was My Legs, and I Was Her Eyes

Eight months after I got injured, I decided to enter college and live in the dorms. It was the fall of 2000 and I went to Marymount College in Tarrytown, NY. It was absolutely inaccessible. It was old and hilly.

I was injured on Christmas Eve of 1999 and wasn’t able to apply to many residential colleges. I needed to stay close to home since I was newly injured. Thankfully, Marymount was only 15 minutes away from my home.

That year I met my good friend, Allison Manzino. Allison is completely blind due to retinopathy of prematurity.  Allie was born at 24 weeks gestation. For two school years, I was Allie’s eyes and she was my legs. Each day, Allie would help me to class. In the bitter cold and rain, Allison Manzino was by my side. We went through so many adventures for those two school years between falling on one another when slipping on ice or Allie giving me singing lessons in her room.

Allison Manzino and I in 2001.
Allison Manzino and I in 2001.

Strong friendships comes from the commitment of two people wanting to help one another despite their disabilities.

Allie and I have been friends for almost 18 years. In these 18 years, I’ve tried to get Allie on TV (she’s a musician), she’s been my ear to vent to and my friend to talk to for hours at a time.

We’re far away from where we grew up and went to college. Allie is in Madrid, Spain and I’m in Phoenix, AZ. Even with the distance and time zones, we haven’t grown apart. Our memories still remain of the days where despite our disabilities, we helped one another. She was my legs and I was her eyes.

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Getty image by M. Gucci.

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