Inspirational Voices from the Fighting Blindness Community

Being diagnosed with anything can be hard, and you certainly will go through a range of emotions. You are not alone. Many have been in your shoes and have dealt with their diagnosis in different ways. Some feel a sense of relief when they can share their stories with others who are going through a similar situation.

The Foundation Fighting Blindness is a beacon for those affected by blinding retinal diseases. With our Beacon Stories, we share individual’s journeys with their disease and how their drive fuels them to pursue their passions. Not only do we find their stories aspirational, we believe these individuals are true beacons of strength, champions of courage, and advocates for hope. We hope these stories provide you with light that will get you through the darkness. Collectively, we are stronger together – as a community.

Do you have a story you'd like to share with the Fighting Blindness community? Let us know at

Beacon Stories

  • Feb 26, 2024

    Embracing and Adapting to AMD

    In honor of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Low Vision Awareness Month, we’re highlighting Toni’s story. In her almost eighth decade of life, Toni Mehler has learned to adapt to the unknown, and she draws from those experiences to embrace her diagnosis of AMD.

    Beacon Stories
  • Feb 12, 2024

    “The Future Holds Promise” on International Day of Women and Girls in Science

    International Day of Women and Girls in Science is celebrated globally to recognize the critical role women play in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. To honor this vital day, the Foundation is sharing the story of Dr. Esther Biswas-Fiss.

    Beacon Stories
  • Feb 5, 2024

    Foundation’s Reach Inspires Partnership for Nixon Family

    After Janine’s diagnosis of an IRD caused by a mutation of the PRPH2 gene, she and her husband set out to learn and help all they could. So they started working with the Foundation Fighting Blindness and have launched the ‘PRPH2 and Associated Retinal Degenerations Program.’

    Beacon Stories
  • Jan 22, 2024

    Blind Advocate Triumphs as a Hockey Pioneer

    Josh Schneider is a former teacher and student-athlete whose life took an unexpected turn due to an optic nerve condition. Years after receiving his diagnosis, Josh transformed his passion for sports into a platform for advocacy. Today, he thrives as a blind hockey player, defying expectations and leading two foundations committed to raising awareness and providing support to blind hockey players.

    Beacon Stories
  • Dec 4, 2023

    The Inspiring Journey of an Endurance Athlete with Cone-Rod Dystrophy

    Diagnosed with cone-rod dystrophy in his youth, Dan Berlin has defied all odds by becoming a global force in endurance sports and entrepreneurship. As an accomplished athlete, he has not only dominated marathons across the globe but also co-founded the Team See Possibilities organization, offering support to youth with blinding diseases.

    Beacon Stories
  • Nov 13, 2023

    IRD Community Loses Usher Syndrome Research Trailblazer William Kimberling, PhD

    Dr. Kimberling helped discover the identification and characterization of several genes that cause Usher syndrome.

    Beacon Stories
  • Nov 6, 2023

    NY Researcher’s App Transforms Commuting for the Visually Impaired

    John-Ross Rizzo, a dedicated New York-based researcher, was confronted with life-altering news at a young age when he was diagnosed with choroideremia. Driven by the obstacles he faced due to his condition, he now stands as a key figure leading the development of advanced assistive technology, with the goal of reshaping the daily commutes of those with low vision and blindness.

    Beacon Stories
  • Oct 16, 2023

    Finding the “Keys to the Kingdom”

    Tricia Waechter, who has retinitis pigmentosa (RP), refers to her white canes as the “keys to the kingdom.” Using a white cane has opened a whole new world for Tricia, and that is why her company, Blind Girl Designs, includes white canes on many of their apparel designs.

    Beacon Stories
  • Sep 18, 2023

    How an Assistive App Developer is Revolutionizing Accessibility

    Meet Rebecca Rosenberg, the founder of ReBokeh Vision Technologies, whose journey from engineer to entrepreneur may have been guided by fate. Diagnosed with oculocutaneous albinism (OCA1) at a young age, Rebecca faced numerous obstacles due to the lack of assistive technology tailored to her unique needs. This inspired her to create an app that would revolutionize the world of assistive technology for those with moderate low vision.

    Beacon Stories
  • Aug 21, 2023

    Life as a Teen with Retinitis Pigmentosa

    At a mere 15 years old, Ava Ruggiero’s world shifted when she received a diagnosis of retinitis pigmentosa. As Ava continues to find balance as a student and athlete, she discusses the challenges of navigating her diagnosis alongside her parents, Joseph and Stephanie.

    Beacon Stories