I was born with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a visual impairment. I started out with a pretty normal childhood. My parents noticed early on, that I couldn’t see very well and got me appropriate glasses. It wasn’t until high school that I started to think of my impairment as a disability. Due to my deteriorating vision I needed to be set up with this giant TV monitor on top of a camera looking thing. It was quite a cool thing. It could invert colors, zoom in and out and its what got me interested in geology, which I took up in college. I would zoom into rocks and see all the wonderful layers. I got to do some amazing field trips while studying geology. Due to worsening vision, by the time I got out of college getting a job in geology was impossible for me. I had to rethink life. I worked with a career coach who put out many suggestions based on my mindset but forgot to take into account my vision. I tried many different things and along the way realized that I wanted to inspire and help people with visual impairments in the right way. There are many accommodations that I could have used to help me in my journey, if only I knew about them. I now work as a career/ life coach with people who have disabilities. I give them information regarding resources that they could use to enrich their lives. I help them achieve what they want, but maybe with a little change in their original plans. I work with different organizations to help improve their lives. It has been very satisfying for me.
The one thing I would wish people would do, is treat me as normal. When I’m on the streets and with a walking stick, people move out of the way and I don’t like that. I have Bogey (service dog) with me now. Since then people come say hello to me because of him. I don’t want to be treated any different from others.
Overall I have a very positive attitude and I accepted my visual impairment fairly early. I don’t let it stop me from doing things that I love. I travel whenever I can, am a wine connoisseur and am a motivational speaker. And with me on my journey I have Shannon, my wonderful wife. I attribute my positivity to my grandfather. He was a role model to me and thats what I want to be for others living with the impairment.