At a very young age, our family struggled to explain the learning and communication difficulties I was experiencing. After years of inquiry and medical appointments, I was finally diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease, Cone-Rod Dystrophy. Over the years, my vision has progressively decreased and I may eventually be completely blind. Despite the uncertainly of what lays ahead, I pick myself up and keep going. I try to adopt a positive view and approach to life. Everyday there is some form of obstacle to overcome, whether that is in school, when learning tools or instruction is unclear or in the sporting world when ignorance/ closed thinking hinders my goals. I train over 20 hours a week, while maintaining my studies at university. Sometimes by the time I get home from track, there is much homework to be done. My visual impairment typically requires, at least, double the time to do homework. So it becomes a challenge to meet homework deadlines, track schedules, and volunteer commitments. I am very good at time management—I have to be, in order to fit it all in, but also meet high academic standards (e.g., honour roll status).
That said, my approach to overcoming obstacles is to educate and inform the public, especially those who harbour old views in terms of disability. At the same time, I realize that I must also stay informed, and therefore, learning will be a live-long pursuit. I believe that boulders along the path are not necessarily my biggest obstacles, but rather the pebbles in my shoes. In addition, I believe that ‘balance’ is very important in attaining my academic, sporting, and social goals. Heck, there are times it is difficult to just be an average young adult, yet I am not sure I really know what average is, as I always strive for excellence. I hold dear the love and support that family, friends, and the community provide and harness this to stay fixed on my dreams.