Here I have included a number of my friends and associates that all have sight loss but do not allow their adversity to prevent them from reaching amazing heights and achieving their dreams. These inspirational individuals all are a great example of what can be achieved with a positive attitude, a belief that there are no limitations and a love for what they do. They are changing the publics perception of the blind and visually impaired by showcasing their magnificent talent, success and spirit. I feel so honoured to know every one of these people and I hope you will find them as inspiring as I do.
Allow me to introduce you to:
The Inspiring VIP Community
“The one thing sight loss has taught me is perception is much more profound than seeing. I may have lost my sight but my clarity has increased exponentially, and for this I am grateful.” ~Stephanae McCoy
Stephanae McCoy is a businesswoman, style-setter, blogger, and abilities crusader. Committed to breaking the myth that “blind people can’t be fashionable,” as a blind woman who loves style, Ms. McCoy is the founder of www.boldblindbeauty.com.
Bold Blind Beauty is an online commUNITY which empowers blind and visually impaired women while connecting sighted and non-sighted people. The mission of Bold Blind Beauty is to improve humanity by changing the way we perceive one another. Abby, the site’s fashion icon and Ms. McCoy’s alter-ego, sustains this mission with her witty commentary & branded swag on “Abby’s Swag” (Shop).
Soon after becoming blind in 2004 following a second encounter with Cancer, Thomas Reid decided to pursue a dormant interest in audio production. After years of pairing his interest in audio with advocacy, In 2014 he was selected as a recipient of the Association of Independence in Radio New Voice Scholarship. During that same year he began his podcast Reid My Mind Radio featuring stories and profiles of compelling people impacted by all degrees of vision loss and disability. Plus, Reid occasionally explores his own experiences becoming blind as an adult in his unique way pairing his words with audio and sound design.
Thomas is especially interested in using stories to help begin altering the myths and misconceptions about disability.
Reid My Mind Radio is available wherever you get podcasts or visit http://www.reidmymind.com/
Steve Bate MBE:
Stephen Bate MBE (born 24 August 1977) is a New Zealand-born Scottish Paralympic cyclist who competes in tandem races as an athlete with a visual impairment. Bate, piloted by Adam Duggleby, represented Great Britain at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, winning two golds and a bronze medal.
In 2018 Bate and Duggleby won the UCI World Para-cycling Tandem B Individual Pursuit and the UCI World Para-cycling Tandem B Individual Time Trial to become double World Champions
In 2013 Steve became the first visually impaired climber to solo El Capitan, a shear 3000ft rock face in the Yosemite Valley, California. He climbed the face 3 times in total, twice with British climbing legend Andy Kirkpatrick. Andy went on to say that Steve’s solo with his disability could possibly be the most audacious climb on El Capitan.
Holly Bonner, MPA, MSW, MPCC, CASAC is an award-winning mental health professional, professor, writer, and poet from Staten Island, New York.
After battling breast cancer, Holly became legally blind in 2012. She navigates mothering her two little girls with help from modern technology and her beloved guide dog, Frances. Her website, Blind Motherhood, chronicles her adventures in parenting and provides useful information for all mommies.
Holly lives by the mantra that even without vision, you should "never lose sight of life, love and laughter."
Dan is aged 30 and was diagnosed with RP at the age of 13, he has around 5% residual vision left at the moment, however Dan does not let his sight loss stop him from living a fulfilled, inspiring life, Dan is a professional skateboarder, who is sponsored and well documented. He is an inspiration to not just the skateboarding community but to everyone, he advocates his message that sight loss does not have to stop people from living the life they wish to live and trying activities they may enjoy, after all, Dan is living proof of this.
Melissa Reid is a paralympic triathlete and surfs for the British adaptive surf team.
Although visually impaired, Melissa has already achieved a bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and us the reigning World Aquathon champion.
Melissa is yet another inspiring athlete that defies her sight loss and defines herself by her determination and love for what she does.
Andy is registered blind with the eye condition Rod Monochromatism, however, despite his sight loss he is an incredibly talented archer, he goes by the name of Nocturnal Archer as he is able to enjoy his archery much more at night due to his eye condition. As well as being a blind archer, Andy is a talented musician, playing piano and singing, he also is a teacher and practices martial arts.
His enthusiasm for living life despite his sight loss is an inspiration and demonstrates that despite being visually impaired you can achieve whatever you set your mind to.
Lizzie is a highly acclaimed operatic singer, who has sung in venues all over the world, she has also appeared on the BBC All Together Now programme as a judge.
Lizzie is registered blind with the eye condition RP, she displays through her love of singing and music that adversity should never stop us from doing what we love and achieving our goals, yet another true inspiring person.
Kai Owens (16) is the world's only legally blind sponsored skimboarder. At the age of 10, he began to lose his vision to an aggressive form of Retinitis Pigmentosa. He hasn't let vision loss slow him down, in fact, he is a mainstreamed student who has held the highest GPA in his class 5 years in a row, has learned braille, learned to navigate with a cane and is the drummer for 3 local rock bands. He is determined to embrace vision loss and live his life to the fullest.
His mom, Kim, has become a strong advocate for educational accessibility, is studying to become a braille transcriber and has started a personal blog to connect with other parents who are navigating blindness.
Catherine was diagnosed in 1995 with RP, only weeks after returning from serving for two years on the mission field in Nigeria, Africa. She has been a national public speaker and article writer for several magazines, sharing her story of learning to walk with strength and faith behind a white cane.
Catherine holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Baylor University and had a wonderful career as an operating room nurse. She is a former ballerina and studied dance at Julliard’s School of American Ballet in New York. She is currently a professional commercial print and fitness model with DMG modelling agency in Dallas, Tx. She is the proud mother of 3 grown sons and wife of Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Craig Harrison. Catherine serves on several non-profit boards and
regularly volunteers in her local community.
Her mission is not only to successfully work as a model, who happens to have a visual impairment, but also to empower women of all ages to step into their strength, regardless of their circumstances, with poise and courage.
As a home fitness coach, I motivate, inspire, and laugh my way through life, while tuning in to all things high vibe.
I am also legally blind and life began for me after my diagnosis with retinitis pigmentosa at age 37. I knew the diagnosis was life changing, but I initially saw that change as something horrible.
I grieved the loss of sight like the loss of a family member. I was angry at the loss of my license and independence. Asking for help was new to me and I was bitter about it. The look of pity from others was almost too much to handle.
But then I woke up. I realized life is different and BETTER because of RP.
I’ve found purpose in inspiring others through my own health and wellness journey.
I like to think that I had to lose my sight to really see my purpose.