At 19, I was your typical San Diego State University Sophomore. Friends, sports, fraternity and most importantly, perfect 20/20 vision. Then it happened, no warning, no time to prepare. Life began to blur. Over the next few months, I lost central vision in my right eye, followed closely by my left. The diagnosis: a rare genetic disorder called Lebers Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON), a disease that affects a mere 100 people in the U.S. each year with no treatment or cure in sight. At first, I thought losing my vision meant forfeiting my life. But I soon learned that with every challenge comes an opportunity for greatness.
With some hard work, dedication, and the support of the team I had created around me, a year after losing my sight I was able to compete in and won the World Blind Golf Championship in England. Today, I strive to raise awareness of LHON, and along with the help of my friends, we have created the C.U.R.E. ride (Cycling Under Reduced Eyesight), an annual fundraising bike ride thats raised over $175,000 for LHON research. My goal is to raise a million.
Now, I turn my attention to inspiring audiences all over the country, spreading my story of overcoming adversity and encouraging others to gain perspective in their own lives. I have had the privilege of being featured on ABC’s 20/20, CNN.com, and MTV’s True Life and I have spoken for many prestigious companies including Wells Fargo, Aflac, Honda, John Hancock and many more. In each presentation, the message is: life is about making choices and if you choose to have a positive outlook, resolute purpose, and a hint of humor, anything is possible.
Whether with friends, on the fairway, or in front of a packed crowd, I am still your everyday guy with an extraordinary story to tell. If you or your company needs inspiration, whether speaking to a large group or just making a small, personal impact, I am the inspiration you are looking for.