Just because a person loses his sight doesn’t make him different from any of us. Most of the time, people who are visually impaired are able to deal with their personal challenges. All they need is a helping hand or an encouraging word.
On White Cane Day, that’s on the 15th of October we celebrate the blind and visually impaired by celebrating their achievements. We also use the day to recognize the white cane, a tool used by people without sight to help themselves get around.
Here are five famous people without sight who were able to overcome difficult obstacles to achieve great things.
By the age of seven, Ray Charles lost his sight completely, but that didn’t stop him from making his mark on modern music.
In his career as musician, he has won 15 Grammy Awards including the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award. His story is so influential it has been the subject of books and international movies.
Watch a trailer of the movie based off his life below.
2. Louis Braille.
Louis Braille lost his sight when a tool hit his eye in his father’s barn.
In those times, there weren’t any resources available that helped people without sight. However, his parents encouraged Louis not to give up on studying. Determined to receive an education, Louis studied hard enough to get a scholarship in France’s National Institute for Blind Youth.
While completing his studies, he developed a system for the blind to read using raised dots on paper. This was inspired by a communication system used by the military. His invention which is also named after him, was debuted in 1834 and is now considered the official writing system for the blind.
Try out this online Braille translator here.
3. Christine Ha
Christine Ha won MasterChef in 2012 despite being completely blind from a disease that attacked her optic nerves. She described her vision as “looking at very foggy mirror after a hot shower”.
Spurred on by her love of cooking, she compensated for her loss of sight by depending on her other senses and staying organized while she cooked. Finally, she entered in the Master Chef competition and after a hard fought battle, she walked away as the champion.
Not only is she a fantastic chef, Christine Ha is also an academic, editor and really good writer. She’s even placed as a finalist in creative writing competitions.
Watch a video showing one of Christine Ha’s cooking being judged on Master Chef below.
Read her blog here.
4. Andrea Bocelli.
When he was a child, Andrea Bocelli was playing football and then an accident in a game caused him to lose his sight. After numerous operations, including a final effort from the doctors that tried to cure him using leeches, Andrea lost his sight.
That didn’t stop him from finding work as a lawyer. However his hobby was singing, and he pursued his love for singing on the side by performing in bars and parties. In one of this performances, he was discovered by a talent scout and the rest is history.
Andrea went on to win numerous awards for his singing and even had a Hollywood star on the Walk of Fame.
Watch a video of his performance here.
5. Helen Keller
When Helen Keller was 19 months old, she was struck by an illness that left her both deaf and blind. Doctors told her parents that she would not be able to live a normal life.
The great change in Helen’s life came when a teacher named Anne Sullivan began teaching her. Anne taught Helen the words of the items that Helen had all around her. Although it was difficult at first, Helen persisted to learn how to read, write and speak.
Helen went on to become to become a famous writer and speaker. Her book ‘The Story of My Life’ became a bestseller and was translated to 50 different languages. She continues to be an inspiration to this day.