I am 18 years old and I live with Stargardt disease, a condition that limits my central vision. Shortly after I was diagnosed at age 5, my family and I found our way to Dr. Stone and the team at the University of Iowa. I have been lucky enough to have a great support system from the medical team in Iowa, my schools, my family and my friends. I recently started my own nonprofit, Louie’s Vision (www.louiesvision.com). By focusing on possibility rather than disability, we strive to provide visually impaired youth with opportunities to expand their life experiences and empower them to reach their fullest potential. We do this by focusing on awareness, confidence and accessibility. Through our events, speaking engagements, website, Facebook, and Instagram, we are building a strong and hopeful network. As the Founder and Leader of Louie’s Vision, it is important to me to build strong networks for others just like the one I was fortunate enough to grow up in. As I look ahead, I am full of hope for the future – in my final year at Cretin-Derham Hall and into college. I love skiing, running, and being on the swim team, and will continue with those sports. I am currently training for the IronMan this fall in Louisville, KY. I will use this experience as a platform to speak and show others with blindness that so much is possible.
As the IVR doctors and scientists search for a cure for blindness, I continue to move forward exploring what's possible and helping other kids like me get the most out of life. This dream is about empowering the blind community and making the most of what we have. After all, blindness is not as simple as black or light – and doing great things is never simple.