To paraphrase, Stevie Wonder, just because a man lacks the use of his eyes doesn’t mean he lacks vision. It is said that inside us, there is the sun, light, and all colours. Light is an element that we carry inside us and which can grow there, with as much abundance, variety, and intensity as it can outside of us. If we want, we could create a light inside of us so alive, so large, and so inspiring that physical eyes become a medium that we no longer require. Here are a few inspiring people are motivating examples of this ‘Inside Light’.
Helen Adams Keller was an American author, activist and lecturer. She was the first deaf/blind person to graduate from college. She was not born blind and deaf; it was not until nineteen months of age that she came down with an illness left her deaf and blind. Keller went on to become a world-famous speaker and author.
Stevie Wonder is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer. Blind from infancy, Wonder signed with Motown Records as a pre-adolescent at age twelve, and continues to perform and record for the label to this day. It is thought that he received excessive oxygen in his incubator which led to retinopathy of prematurity, a destructive ocular disorder affecting the retina.
Erik Weihenmayer is the first blind person to reach the summit of Mount Everest, on May 25, 2001. Erik was born with a disease called Retinoschisis and became totally blind by the age of 13. He has also completed the Seven Summits in September 2002. Erik is also an acrobatic skydiver, long distance biker, marathon runner, skier, mountaineer, ice climber, and rock climber. In 2004, he led an expedition in Tibet called Climbing Blind project, including blind teens from the ‘Braille Without Borders School’ for blind at Lhasa, Tibet.
David Alexander Paterson is an American politician and the current Governor of New York. He is the first African American governor of New York and also the second legally blind governor of any U.S. state after Bob C. Riley. At the age of three months, Paterson contracted an ear infection which spread to his optic nerve, leaving him with no sight in his left eye and severely limited vision in his right eye.
Peter White MBE is a British broadcast journalist and DJ. He was a regular presenter on BBC Radio Solent from the station’s launch in 1971 until November 2006. Blind since birth, he is closely associated with disability issues. He currently presents, ‘You and Yours’ and ‘In Touch’ on Radio 4, and regularly contributes to other science, news or educational programmes to talk about disabilities.