Inspiring Others

We are not are alone in this journey of vision loss. Here we selected stories by people from all walks of life who are facing the same challenges as us if not much more. Some lost their vision at an early age and some are losing vision during their prime times like us and having gone blind. However, they followed their passion and became the creators of their own realities.

Christopher Downey is an architect, planner and consultant who lost all sight in 2008. Today, he is dedicated to creating more helpful and enriching environments for the blind and visually impaired.
“I would not trade where I am today to have my vision back,” says Christine Ha. Known as the Blind Cook, Christine started losing her sight right around the time she was teaching herself how to cook. She had to learn how to use the knife and stove all over again, but with the help of technology, she was a natural in the kitchen once more. But since going blind, Ha has won a television cooking competition, written a best-selling cookbook and opened her own restaurant in Houston.
Daniel Kish has been blind since he was 13 months old, but has learned to “see” using a form of echolocation. He clicks his tongue and sends out flashes of sound that bounce off surfaces in the environment and return to him, helping him to construct an understanding of the space around him. Kish and his organization taught echolocation to at least 500 children around the world.
Sargy Mann has been painting all of his professional life, first as a teacher and later as a professional artist. In his mid-30s he developed cataracts on both eyes, eventually leading to total blindness. He continued to paint.Twenty-five years later, Sargy’s work is highly sought-after by collectors with paintings regularly selling for upward of £50,000 (US$80,000).
Reality isn’t something you perceive; it’s something you create in your mind. Isaac Lidsky learned this profound lesson firsthand, when unexpected life circumstances yielded valuable insights. In this introspective, personal talk, he challenges us to let go of excuses, assumptions and fears, and accept the awesome responsibility of being the creators of our own reality.
Marla Runyan was the first ever legally blind person to compete in the Olympics in 1992. Now she continues to empower the blind at camp abilities where she helps blind children play sports.
Despite his blindness, Brazilian teen Derek Rabelo decided to become a surfer and embarked on a grueling three-year training program. He persevered towards his goal of surfing Pipeline and along the way inspired the best surfers in the world.
Scaling the world’s tallest mountains is a feat in and of its own—doing it while blind is extraordinary. Erik Weihenmayer is the first blind rock climber to summit the tallest peak in every continent, Mount Everest included.
When Dr. Amit Patel lost his sight in 2013 he had more than his vision taken away from him. He also lost one of his greatest pleasures: His freedom to drive. In 2018, Amit contacted Toyota GB with a simple request: Help me drive again.
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