When you look at the people pictured here, what do you see?
Do you see happy, healthy and active people? People taking risks or those that stand out from the crowd?
Maybe you see adventurers: those doing things that you yourself wouldn’t do? Perhaps you’ve wanted to try surfing, skateboarding or express yourself in a bold way but didn’t think that you could?
What if I told you that besides taking chances and living their lives to the fullest, ALL of these people shown are Visually-impaired (VI), each one with varying degrees of blindness.
Now, let me stop you right there…
Before you go and say “They don’t look blind” let me ask you this: what is Blind supposed to look like? We all know the old stereotype- Wearing dark glasses, holding a white cane and shuffling about, but these days Blind people are challenging those stereotypes and proving that we can do anything we put our minds too! (Except driving, but really no one wants that – haha)
They don’t look blind…Most everyone
NOTE: I feel that I should tell you that saying “You don’t look blind” to a blind person is one of the worst things you can possible say. I know, because I have been on the receiving end of that statement more times than I care to count. I often have to bite my tongue to prevent myself from replying with something sarcastic but more often than not I’d rather educate you than berate you.
Sooooo without further ado, please allow me to introduce you to these amazing Visually-Impaired people. Each one shattering stereotypes, throwing stigmas aside, providing inspiration and advocating for Blind/VI persons everywhere.
Meet Victoria Claire : she is a professional artist, singer, skateboarder, surfer and advocate for Sight Loss Awareness. She has been on quite the journey since her diagnoses with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) in 1994. She shares her story, the ups and down as well as things that have helped her deal with Vision loss on her blog as well as her Instagram account. Victoria travels often to speak at events spreading the word on what it is like to be blind. She really is a beautiful soul and I always love listening to what she has to say.
This is Kai Owens: he is a high school student, sponsored athlete, skim-boarder, skater and drummer also with Retinitis Pigmentosa. Oh, and he also founded a charity, now in it’s 4th year, called “Kai’s comforts” in which Kai collects new, highly textured, soft, pillows and blankets to help comfort other kids facing blindness. This guy blows my mind in all that he has achieved so far and his acceptance of his disease is an inspiration to me. I wish I had his resilience at such a young age. Kai’s amazingly supportive mum, Kim, has a blog and Instagram page in which she shares both her and Kai’s perspectives in dealing with blindness. They provide insight and education in a kind, compassionate way.
Katie was diagnosed with Stargardts Macular Dystrophy just a few years ago at the age of 32. Unlike the others here, she was diagnosed later in life. Rather than feel sorry for herself she has made it her mission to educate people on the importance of Eye Health and regular Eye Testing. She also created a Facebook support group to help others dealing with this eye-disease. As if that wasn’t enough, she is a mum to two youngsters and she does all this with style and grace. Fashion and make-up are two of her passions and she proves that even with limited vision you can still follow your interests. You can check out Katie’s Instagram and webpage for more!
Tink aka @blindgirlfit has Ocular Histoplasmosis but it doesn’t stop her from pushing her boundaries. She is an avid runner which comes in handy as she is mum to a wild little guy (that can sometimes be spotted racing alongside her). On her webpage you can find all things running: from race recaps and discounts to product reviews. She also shares her joy of running by being an ambassador for BibRave Pros. In the last few years Tink has undergone a dramatic physical change after embracing a healthier lifestyle, she is not afraid to share before and after photos for inspiration and as a reminder of her past life.
Never would I have expected to find so many inspiring Visually-Impaired people on Social Media but I am sure glad that I did. Each person brings their own experience and character to their profiles and are vocal in sharing their personal stories- the good along with the bad.
So, that’s a wrap! I hope you found some inspiration from these amazing people. I know I did!
Until next time…