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    Community Voices

    How Blindness Led Me to My Life’s Work

    When I was 18 years old, I started to lose by vision. As an athlete, the signs, at first, were small – missed passes from my teammates on the basketball court. Losing a fly ball in the air at my baseball games. Not following my golf ball’s trajectory on the course. I went to see a doctor thinking that it was something perhaps with my brain and was shocked to eventually learn I had Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) – a rare, degenerative eye disease that makes cells in the eye breakdown over time – eventually causing vision loss. I have one of the most severe cases of RP that one can have – and by age 30 I was completely blind.

    For years, as I worked through a range of emotions, I always knew one thing - I was determined to not let RP define who I am or what success I find in my life. Up until the point of my diagnosis, I had planned on being a doctor – and while that course was, and remains, unavailable, higher education and career fulfillment is absolutely not. Through a lot of tenacity, problem-solving, failure and entrepreneurship, two years ago I found myself starting a new job at NSITE just outside Washington, DC. Here, I have found my deepest purpose – helping blind and low vision individuals find jobs, while also helping companies and products make their tools more accessible to everyone. In my spare time – I’m entering my fourth year as a goalie for the U.S. National Blind Hockey Team because being blind has never dimmed my love of sports!

    The journey to this role and this life was not a straight line. I hope as part of this community I can share a bit about my path in the hopes it shows other blind and low vision individuals how they can find fulfilling personal and professional lives, even in the wake of the unexpected.

    I’m always happy to talk to anyone who has lost vision at any stage of life, to help them understand what steps they can take to come to terms with their diagnosis, and when ready, start to think about what is next.

    I look forward to learning more from you all, too.

    #Blindness #RP #Blind

    Community Voices
    Community Voices

    Trust your body

    Listen to your body when you feel that something is off. Don’t ignore how you feel. Trust your gut.

    For the past few weeks I’ve been experiencing flashing lights in my right eye. I got an emergency appointment with my retina specialist today and he found an Operculated Retinal Hole. He did a laser procedure on it, along with some of my abnormal vasculature of my retina. It was so painful and I’m struggling with a lot of pain in my eye and head all around the area. It will take a few weeks to heal and hopefully seal the hole. Hopefully after the hole is sealed the flashing lights should subside. I have an appointment in two weeks to get re-scanned. I have to rest and take it easy now.

    I was going to wait it out and ignore my symptoms because if everything looked “okay” I didn’t want to waste my doctors time. Ultimately, after my mom and my neurologist persuading me to go, I made an appointment and I’m so glad I did. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and in this case, I was experiencing vision symptoms of an emergency that could and probably would’ve turned much worse had I not gone to the doctor.

    #trustyourbody #LegallyBlind #Blind #Blindness #blindnessisaspectrum #blindnessawareness #VisionLoss #VisuallyImpaired #vision #retina

    Community Voices

    haven't really ever felt like this... but lately just feeling super depressed sad lonely... etc. seeing how well everyone else gets along with people. Im still in school and seeing how my classmates get along so well with eachother and then im just here...the lonely #Blind and crippled person, i dont have anyone and i dont feel like i can trust anyone, sure i do have a few people i occasionally talk to but i dont have anyone who i can talk to all the time, talk about my issues, hug or cry on when i need. i want that, I just hate how im feeling right now. Lonely and helpless.

    Community Voices

    Mighty NOT accessible to the visually impaired

    My partner is visually impaired. He tried registering/login on Mighty but failed, there were errors with the app. The app kept crashing when he opened the app with Voiceover. The app is not compatible with Voiceover at all. Mighty community is really an exciting initiative, why are the visually impaired not included? #Disability #Blind #VisuallyImpaired #Accessibility #Voiceover #App #mighty

    Community Voices

    How to handle a blind person?

    I struggle with how so many people bypass a blind person. My Mom is blind and I don't like being the one others look to for the answers she has. I have started a Facebook page for those who have grow up around a blind person. I just need to know other people get tired of always being asked what "she needs" or how is "she doing today?" I want to say yes shes blind and has a hearing loss, but she can answer her own questions. #Blindness #childrenraisedaroundtheblind #Blind

    Community Voices
    Community Voices