Accepting that my vision is detonating is hard. Seeing it affect my family, loved ones and me as a person is hard. Taking the steps to accept this unacceptable reality is seemingly impossible but if there is a will, there is a way…
As I deal with the realities of our future, I have been up, down, really down and just about everywhere in between. I’ve done research, i’ve read more than I ever could have imagined and through all of that, I knew it was time to connect with someone who has been down this road before.
Now, as a legally blind guy, I have to be honest in admitting that until recently, I have never interacted with a visually impaired person, other than myself and my father of course. Until my formal diagnosis, my father never talked about his vision and the connection we share now, well it’s pretty awesome. We talk about the things that are challenging, we share frustrations and even though, his vision is better than mine, he understands some of the things that are happening in my reality.
On a trip home from his condo in Punta Mita, my father saw a man who was visually impaired wusing a white cane on his flight. At baggage claim, my father approached the man and his wife and struck up a conversation. My pops told the man of my situation and the man, Patrick Lennon, gave his card to my Dad and told him to pass it along. He did and I couldn’t be more grateful for my father, as that simple act of reaching out, has had a great impact on my life already, with much more to come.
A few weeks after their interaction, Patrick and I finally got to connect on the telephone. The conversation was different than any conversation that i’ve had in terms of context and topics, however, it was equally one of the most powerful and impactful talks i’ve had. We discussed vision, acceptance, history and our lives. After our chat, we agreed that meeting in person would be a great idea and we moved forward to set it up.
The day came for our meeting and well, I was nervous.
I grabbed an Uber down to Patrick’s offices near downtown San Diego and had absolutely no idea what to expect. What I experienced, well, it was amazing.
Patrick had lunch ordered in to his office, which was painted and organized in a very accommodating way to the visually impaired, and we talked. We talked for hours.
Patrick lost his vision due to an accident and health complications in years past. He can still “see” but his vision is extremely low with very little remaining sight. Has it stopped him? Not even a single bit. Patrick started ROI Media years ago in a 1 bedroom apartment and grew the business into an overwhelming success. Recently, his company was purchased by Veritone One, a publicly traded company and Patrick had the opportunity to ring the opening bell on the New York City Stock Exchange and that is just one of many accomplishments that he has had.
Patrick is a father and married and the more we chatted, the more similarities and common ground we found. Not only is Patrick a successful man in his work but he is also a successful man in terms of life. We talked about what losing your vision is like, from the anger to the frustrations. We talked about ways he has adapted and how he has found happiness, even without sight. He shared invaluable tips and advice that answered many of the questions that I have had.
For me, this was an experience that I will never forget. It was my first time “reaching out” to someone for insight, advice and guidance and what I received from my time with Patrick was helpful in immeasurable amounts. I truly am grateful for the time we had and for the information that he shared with me.
As we venture down this road, having someone to talk to who knows the road is really amazing. His willingness to share with me was something that meant the world to me and the insight he provided, well, it truly influenced me to make some changes in my life for the better.
Thank you dude. Thank you very much for making the time.
In addition, Patrick recently started a resource site for the visually impaired. BlindResources.org is a place fto find tools, tricks and tips for people who can’t see well. I’m excited for Patrick on this new venture and hope that his efforts, help others, just like he has already helped me.