“An image is worth a thousand words” but what if you cannot see this image? Our vision is such a delicate faculty, and so often taken for granted. A considerable number of Americans wear glasses, or contact lenses, or need some form of vision support be it from an animal, supplements, or lenses. Let us today admire these celebrated role models with impaired vision.
In no particular order:
Stevie Wonder A great musician who has won awards for Best Song, Best Singer, Best Producer, Best Music Accompaniment, and this is for many different songs too! He was born in 1950 and became blind shortly after. That didn’t discourage him though, he was signed up for his first record deal at only 11 years of age. At 11 I was figuring how to tie up my own hair…
Ray Charles Another amazing musician, said pioneer of soul music, who has his very own star on Hollywood Boulevard.He was born in 1930 and lost his sight a 7 years of age due to glaucoma. Although from an underprivileged background, he pursued his music with determination, always harboring a deep respect for his mother. I will always remember his performance in the Blues Brothers!
Andre Bocelli Yes Andre Bocelli is blind, but as they say, you lose one sense so another gets heightened, and oh my, what a magnificent voice he has. He was born in 1958 with poor eyesight and lost it fully in a soccer accident when he was 12 (he was playing goal and got hit in the head!) He is a huge philanthropist with a million dollar foundation for poverty, and has performed personally for royalty and the pope (Prince Albert of Monaco, if you were curious).
The Blind Boys of Alabama Seeing as we are speaking about musicians here (pun wasn’t initially intended..) why not give a mention to the Blind Boys of Alabama. Not a notably famous musical group, but really, what are the chances of a group of blind boys from Alabama, with musical talent, finding each other? Apparently quite easily since they attended a special school for the blind. And they are quite known also as they have won 5 Grammys with Gospel Music. They started performing together as a group in 1939.
Louis Braille Well the name is quite a giveaway, but Louis Braille is the French man who invented Braille, which, since its inception, has remained practically unaltered. He was born in 1809 and presented his original system for the first time in 1824 - he was 15! I guess the old adage “necessity is the mother of all invention” is quite applicable here. At 15 I was battling pimples and peer pressure - this man is an inspiration!
Helen Keller Speaking of inspiring people, Helen Keller was both deaf and blind, but also a political activist, author, and lecturer. She was born in 1880 and became deaf and blind at only 19 months, they believe due to meningitis or Scarlet Fever. This would usually submit someone into isolation, with no forthcoming ability to communicate, but Helen was determined and even became ‘outspoken’. She was able to sense who was there by feeling the vibrations of their unique step!
Trischa Zorn Californian born Trischa Zorn is the most successful Paralympic athlete on record. She was born blind in 1964 and started to swim at age 10 - assisted. To date, she has won a whopping 55 medals with Team USA - 41 gold, 9 silver, and 5 bronze. And if her athletic performance wasn’t inspiring enough, she is also a fully fledged attorney.
Sinead Kane As our last mentioned, Sinead Kane is an Irish woman who won her place in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the first visually impaired person to complete the World Marathon Challenge - that is running 7 full marathons in 7 continents in 7 days! She was born in 1983 blind with only 5% vision. She also has a Masters in Law.
Today October 11 is recognized as World Sight Day according to the World Health Organization #WorldSightDay