Losing Vision, Not Dreams – Preorder
Losing Vision, Not Dreams: Reflections on My Teenage Years
When I was 13, I was diagnosed with Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON), a rare genetic disease that leads to central vision loss. My vision quickly deteriorated from 20/20 to 20/600 and 20/400 in my left and right eyes, respectively. I was a rising track and field star, and suddenly, I was legally blind.
LHON is caused by a genetic mutation I inherited from my mom. Her vision is fine, but she carries the gene and passed it on to me. There is no known cure for LHON.
My uncle, my mom’s older brother, also has LHON. But for 20 years, starting when he was 12 years old, he was misdiagnosed. One of his misdiagnoses was “mental blindness.” He was finally diagnosed with LHON when he was 30 years old, one year before I was born.
I wrote this book because there was nothing like it for me to read when I was diagnosed with LHON. I wrote this book for young athletes with LHON or other disabilities who have goals they want to achieve, but who also have embarrassing moments. I want them to know that I used to count the rare days when I wasn’t bullied at school. I want them to be motivated by my story of overcoming these challenges to join the U.S. Paralympic team, set records, compete globally, and become one of the only legally blind Division I track athletes in the nation at Indiana State University. I lost my vision, but not my dreams.
I wrote this book for anyone who has ever felt that their disability overshadowed their athletic abilities and achievements.
I wrote this book so that people won’t count disabled athletes out, seeing us instead as serious competitors in our chosen sports.
Finally, I wrote this book for anyone facing obstacles along their life’s path. With focus, hard work, and a positive mindset, you too can stay the course and finish strong.
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